All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is a trashy send-up of the sexual innuendo and promiscuity that rule the old teenage horror genre. This is the post-Columbine world of dead teenagers envisioned by Quentin Tarantino & Co., without any of his imagination. Made in 2006, it has been gathering dust on a shelf ever since, for reasons that will soon become obvious.
Mandy is played by Amber Heard, a fresh face on the scene seven years ago who has since made nearly 20 more films and numerous TV shows. In this dog, she radiates a charm both sexy and shy as a modest and beautiful orphan in the sea of exploding hormones that make up the population of her new school. Bad girls simmer with envy, and horny boys hide their crotches from growing embarrassment at the mere sight of her.
Somehow, Mandy has managed to keep her distance (as well as her virginity) from the sexpots of both genders—fast girls and brainless jocks. Somewhere in the middle are the less attractive rejects—objects of ridicule who bear watching. Loners, dorks and frustrated outcasts can be irritating, not to mention more dangerous than firearms.
Before this smutty and grotesque little sex parody turns lethal, Mandy stupidly accepts an invitation, along with two fellow bodacious hotties, to spend the weekend in the country at an isolated Texas ranch house replete with several oversexed dudes eager to bed them all. For reasons known only to first-time director Jonathan Levine, Mandy is braced for decadence.
What follows is Debbie Does Dallas meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The girls, far from parental supervision, are surrounded by endless parched fields and roads that lead nowhere. A somber and hunky ranch hand (Anson Mount), who disapproves of drugs and weapons, only ignites their fantasies, and the party gets started: dope, booze and lust abound as the guys compete in a dazed quest to be the first to stick it to Mandy. She deflects their sloppy adolescent advances all day, but, once that Texas sun sets on the Panhandle, a secret admirer hiding in the shadows starts eliminating the competition. This anonymous valentine has a bigger plan for Mandy, writing hillbilly sonnets with the blood of her classmates, as all of the glossy mall rat stereotypes get twisted, impaled, slashed and chopped into cheeseburgers.
Imbued with a sense of constant calamity that is never a surprise, the movie becomes the same slaughterhouse of clichés it pretends to poke fun at. Mr. Levine—whose subsequent bombs include The Wackness and the zombie parody Warm Bodies—and writer Jacob Forman’s teens are as real as Martians with ponytails; the film feels closer to the lurid junk of Larry Clark than to Fox TV. Promiscuous slobbering rules this social order. A sickening sense of dread has replaced the traditional Texas barbecue, the spare ribs aren’t all on the grill, and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a hack job in more ways than one.
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
WRITTEN BY: Jacob Forman
DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Levine
STARRING: Amber Heard, Anson Mount and Whitney Able
RUNNING TIME: 90 min.