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All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane


Starring Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch, Edwin Hodge, Aaron Himelstein, Luke Grimes, Melissa Price, Adam Powell, Peyton Hayslip, Brooke Bloom and Robert Earl Keen.

Screenplay by Jacob Forman.

Directed by Jonathan Levine.

Distributed by RADiUS-TWC. 90 minutes. Rated R.

You may be watching All the Boys Love Mandy Lane thinking: Wow, Amber Heard and Anson Mount are sure aging well. I mean, sure, they are both gorgeous, but they look like they have dropped about a decade just since their recent appearances in Paranoia and Hell on Wheels.

The truth of the matter is that they haven't gotten younger, the movie they are in has gotten old.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is actually kind of a well-known property around Hollywood. It was filmed, with a certain amount of fanfare, back in 2005-2006. Since then, a series of delays, which include legal wrangling, changing studios and executive timidity, have forced delay after delay after delay upon the film's release date. Weeks became months, months became years.

It eventually became something of a white whale in Hollywood. With so many missed release opportunities and the film's pedigree lingering farther and farther in the rear view mirror, the accepted wisdom was that Mandy Lane would never see the light of day and become a somewhat legendary (using the term loosely) unreleased film.

Yet, when everyone had pretty much given up hope on virginal hottie Mandy Lane and her slightly creepy friends ever getting a release in the US (it's long been available on video in other countries), fortunes changed and the film was quietly slipped into theaters earlier this year.

The popularity of Heard, who plays the title role and has become a b-movie it-girl as well as Johnny Depp's mega-hot girlfriend probably greased the wheels a bit. Mount's respected work on the hit AMC western series Hell on Wheels probably didn't hurt, either. Also, director Jonathan Levine has since made something of a hipster name for himself by helming The Wackness, 50/50 and Warm Bodies since doing Mandy.

Now, a few months later, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is getting its long-delayed video launch.

So, seven years after the film was finished, the big question seems pretty obvious. Was it worth the wait?

The short answer is no, probably not. However, that declaration comes with certain provisos.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a pretty boilerplate horror film about a group of gorgeous teens getting knocked off one-by-one by a mysterious stalker at a secluded ranch house.

It's an oddly timeless rural place where the hipster kids have plenty of booze and drugs, but they don't have cell phones (this was filmed in 2006, right?). In fact, the ranch only has a land line with a rotary dial (again, this was filmed in 2006, right?). So instead of talking on the phone or texting, the kids spend the weekend binge drinking, hooking up, skinny dipping, flirting or fighting with the handsome but mysterious handyman while listening to really old adult contemporary music. ("Sister Golden Hair" and "Sealed with a Kiss?" I love both songs, but they are so not what the hip kids were listening to in 2006).

Yet director Levine was making some interesting visual and story choices even back in 2006, and it gives Mandy Lane a certain hallucinatory feel. Also, the odd circumstances which the heroine is in gives this film a lot more gravity as a statement about the objectification of young women.

Heard plays the title character here, a dappled, sun kissed, perfect blonde virgin of every boy's dream. (She is often, particularly in early scenes, filmed in soft focus with a halo of light streaming from behind her).

We meet Mandy at a pool party, after she has returned for a new school year completely blossomed into ripe sexuality, and every guy at the bash is trying to hit on her. Except, that is, for her slightly oddball platonic – not by his choice – friend Emmet. (Emmet is played by Michael Welch, a long way from his role as the nerdy younger brother in Joan of Arcadia, which he was filming probably at about the same time as this). As Mandy looks on, Emmet tricks the jock who was throwing the party into jumping off of his roof to impress Mandy, which leads to the jock's death.

Nine months later Mandy is firmly ensconced with the cool kids at school and has pretty much left Emmet behind. Then Mandy's goofy new friends ask her to a weekend retreat at one of the kids' parents' ranch. In fact they all seem obsessed to get her there, with the three guys competing to see who will bed her first (plus there is just a hint that the girls may be into the idea of making her try bi).

These friends all fit into standard horror film "types." There is the goofy rich stoner whose parents own the ranch (Aaron Himelstein). There is the beautiful stuck-up girl who envies all the attention that Mandy receives from the boys (Whitney Able). There is the jerky guy who is constantly trying to get laid (Luke Grimes). There is the stoic token black jock (Edwin Hodge). There is the pretty but promiscuous Latina girl (Melissa Price).

They make it to the ranch. Every one of the guys make their moves on Mandy and the other two girls don't seem to have much problem with being sloppy seconds.

Suddenly some of the kids seem to be disappearing into the woods. But how can that be? They are all alone up there, other than a slightly older and massively handsome but slightly mysterious former marine turned ranch hand (played by Mount).

Or are they?

The movie doesn't seem too mysterious. If you have seen a few horror films in your day, you should be able to make a pretty accurate guess as to what order they will all die. (I actually got all of them in order other than the fact that the stoner lasted a bit longer than I expected.) Also, the identity of the killer is pretty obvious after the opening flashbacks. The filmmakers know this, showing it is him committing the crimes less than halfway through the film.

Yet, it turns out that All the Boys Love Mandy Lane still has one surprise up its sleeve. I have to admit the trick ending is a pretty good one, even if it doesn't exactly make sense for the character it revolves around. Still, got to say, sure didn't see that coming.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2013 All rights reserved. Posted: November 27, 2013.

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