Pretty Persuasion and The People That All Look Alike

“Can you tell us what the fuck that movie was about?” asked a leggy blonde. She was at the afterparty for the premiere of Pretty Persuasion, a dark teen dramedy in the fine tradition of Heathers. “We walked in halfway through.”

Hmm, let’s see. There’s a sprinkling of underage sex, a generous dose of the word “kike,” references to bestiality, and some timely—and no doubt, thought-provoking—allusions to the War in Iraq. The Transom was told this was provocative, cutting-edge stuff—although, it should be noted The Transom had just sneaked out the other day for a matinee of The Aristocrats and wasn’t about to find itself shocked by some naughty words.

And yet…

“We were offered a lot of money by other distributors if we cut out the ending and made it more of a Mean Girls scenario,” said producer Carl Levin, not without a touch of pride.

We asked if he was a member of the tribe.

“Yes,” Mr. Levin laughed. “And I wrote some of the anti-Semitic jokes in the script!”

The film stars Evan Rachel Wood as Kimberly Joyce, a nastier, dirtier incarnation of Reese Witherspoon’s calculating teen queen Tracy Flick. Seducing a lesbian newscaster, Kimberly croons: “I could never give up men. I like cock too much. But sometimes, I just need a woman’s touch.”

Ms. Wood turns 18 in September. “I’m all for owning your sexuality,” she told us. “But I think my sexuality isn’t quite like Kimberly’s. I couldn’t find myself in her at all.”

Maybe that’s a good thing. Kimberly spouts lines like “Get lost, you unkempt miscreant!” and orally services several characters of both genders. She accuses a mild-mannered English teacher of sexual assault, betrays her best friend and tells a Muslim girl that Arabs are the “worst race to be.” Comedy!

The afterparty, featuring Twinkies as hors d’oeuvres, was held at Slate Plus Lounge in Chelsea. Hangers-on shot billiards in the club’s pool hall while the few celebs in attendance stayed put in the V.I.P. area, which was set off by a glittery bead canopy and lit by hanging halos.

We were thrilled to find Jonathan Silverman there. The lovable shlub from TV’s The Single Guy and star of both Weekend at Bernie’s and Weekend at Bernie’s II, Mr. Silverman told us he is betrothed—”Look at that, the engaged guy!”—and is working on several independent films.

“I just did a pilot for Jerry Bruckheimer,” he said. “Right now it’s the only thing that Jerry Bruckheimer has ever touched that didn’t turn into something.”

In a more secluded corner sat Adrian Grenier, who isn’t a movie star but plays one on TV. The Entourage star smiled sheepishly as a bevy of girls swooped in to pose for pictures. He wore a forest green T-shirt and plain jeans.

“I think it’s significant the film takes place in L.A. They’re so affected there,” he said. Mr. Grenier’s a city boy: he grew up in New York and attended LaGuardia High School, studying theater and dance. For now he’s back in Manhattan, “living and shooting a short film, Euthanasia. One of the characters is modeled after Evan Rachel Wood.” She couldn’t do the film herself? “She’s too big! She blew up!”

We bid Mr. Grenier bon soir. “Be nice, be nice,” he said, batting those big ol’ lashes. Hmm?

We asked director Marcos Siega about the film’s more offensive moments, such as the slurs aimed at minorities and Jews. “Some people are gonna hate it, but what are you gonna do?” Mr. Siega shrugged.

What are you gonna do indeed? Pretty Persuasion‘s positive lessons about diversity had already been confirmed for The Transom moments earlier. Upon entering the club, we’d noticed two young women eyeing us from afar. As we walked past, one girl turned, made eye contact, and said with a smile:

“You were great!”

“Thanks!” The Transom chirped, realizing we’d been mistaken for a dark-haired Jewish boy in the film. We didn’t have the heart to explain that, despite The Transom’s fairly Semitic features, not all the chosen people are the same.
—Michael Grynbaum Pretty Persuasion and The People That All Look Alike