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MOVIE REVIEW

'A Boy Called Hate' Follows Dysfunctional Kids on the Run

May 24, 1996|DAVID KRONKE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"A Boy Called Hate" is one of those excruciatingly shallow and deeply stupid lovers-on-the-lam movies that really sticks it to Mean Ol' Society, which has the bad sense to deprive certain deserving youths of what they want, be it a satisfying family life or just a new Pray for Rain CD.

Here, the father-son tandem of James and Scott Caan play Dysfunctional Family Case No. 18,302-B. Pop's a drunk scamming worker's comp, which leaves his poor son with no other option than to scrape the word "Hate" into his arm with a razor blade and go off on a crime spree. Happening upon an attempted rape, Hate (as everyone comes to call him, though he never actually calls himself that) plugs the offender (boy, is it depressing to see Elliott Gould in this kind of role in this kind of movie) and roars off on his bike with the intended victim (a thoroughly petulant Missy Crider).

The twosome, an ersatz Thelma and Louie with even bigger chips on their shoulders and raging hormones, motor their way through a series of escalating implausibilities. For example, Hate can't kill a guy even after plugging him three times at point-blank range, but he can easily outdraw and dispatch a cop. Things really get annoying when the movie makes a bid for cheap relevance by plopping these Natural Born Cretins in the middle of an American Indian reservation, where Hate goes native.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 25, 1996 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 4 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Movie rating--The MPAA rating of "A Boy Called Hate" was incorrectly reported in Friday's review of the movie. It is rated R for language, sexuality and violence.

Scott Caan swaggers through his role like the son of a movie star, not like the wounded and confused soul he's supposed to be; Crider runs the gamut with her one expression--a sneer, naturally. Their dialogue sounds like bad improvisations. In case you haven't figured out what drives these kids, the song that plays while Hate steals his first car hammers it into your head: "Anger! Anger! Anger!" (Of course, no one in the movie cares what might have happened to the adults in their respective childhoods that turned them out the way they are.)

All you really need to know is that you will likely first consult your watch no later than 20 minutes into this movie, and recheck the time every five minutes thereafter.

* Unrated. Times guidelines: Call it an R, with violence, profanity, brief sex and a scene of gratuitous self-mutilation.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

'A Boy Called Hate'

Scott Caan: Hate

Missy Crider: Cindy

A Dove Entertainment presentation of a Nickel/Pacific Motion Pictures production, released by Dove Entertainment. Director and screenwriter Mitch Marcus. Producer Steve Nicolaides. Executive producer Tom Rowe, Tony Allard, Marjorie Skouras. Cinematographer Paul Holahan. Editor Michael Ruscio. Music Pray for Rain. Production design Caryn Marcus. Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes.

* At selected theaters throughout Southern California.

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