MINI'S FIRST TIMER
That old standby, the guilty pleasure, rears its head again or, more appropriately in the case of Mini's First Time, shakes its naked butt like an eager stripper as it strives to please easily satisfied moviegoers-the same crowd that, back on their sofas, tunes into "Desperate Housewives" or the most shameless of the reality shows.
Mini's First Time is also writer-director Nick Guthe's first time and, as evidenced by this, er, virgin effort, his influences are many: glossy soft-core films of the '60s and early '70s, plus a dash of Body Heat and Lolita to spice up the thin story.
Mini (Thirteen's Nikki Reed) is a rich and spoiled Hollywood high-school senior with a mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) she hates. And no wonder: Mom Diane is a total disaster. Besides ignoring her daughter, she drinks and drugs herself blind, curses like a biker, and cheats on new husband Martin (Alec Baldwin), a wealthy marketing exec who looks for love elsewhere in the wrong places.
Mini's mission, as she makes clear in voice-overs, is to continually try new things, push the envelope as it were. In the inciting incident, she takes part-time work as a paid escort only to discover Martin as the client. Keeping in the shadows, she keeps her identity a secret until that moment when she wields her secret as a power ploy.
Father and stepdaughter soon enter into a full-blown affair which requires Diane to be dealt with. Mini's scheme is to drive the woman crazy so that she can be put away. With Martin's support, Mini entraps Diane in set-ups that make her look more and more unstable.
Eventually, things get complicated: Mini and Martin's effusive game-show producer neighbor Mike (Jeff Goldblum) grows suspicious of the daughter/stepfather relationship. And Mini is driven to orchestrate, with Martin's help, Diane's fake suicide. When Detective Garson (Luke Wilson) grows suspicious, things become grim, although Mini just may be as wily as she is evil.
Mini's First Time comes up with a twist that a key character doesn't get, although smart filmgoers will. Acting throughout is OK, although Moss falters occasionally in her extreme role of wicked, wasted mom. Reed appropriately comes across as a nasty piece of work, while Baldwin, usually a screen magnet, is less so here. Goldblum has no opportunity to show off his considerable acting chops.
Much of the film reeks of decadence and new money-the snazzy cars and clothes and the boxy, minimalist modern stone and glass interiors that are as cold as the characters themselves. Without a shred of redeeming social value, Mini's First Time, as briskly paced and watchable as its anti-heroine, will provide some entertainment value for those so inclined.