Bully (2001)

bullyBased on a true story, we meet Marty Puccio a troubled guy who is being abused by his friend Bobby Kent until one day his girlfriend Lisa decides to group a bunch of friends to kill him. After his brutal murder paranoia ensues within the group. Over the past few years I’ve noticed a startling resemblance among Clark’s films, so I didn’t expect much of a difference from this and “Kids.” The story plays out as we see the naive and brain dead Marty who only surfs and watches Television is bullied by his malicious best friend Bobby. The characters are fascinating because Bobby is at times very abusive at one point hitting Marty across the face in anger, but when they’re alone he sincerely tells him, “You’re my best friend.”

Lisa comes along, a basically impish, dim-witted, and virginal character who falls in love with Marty after having sex with him and twists his mind into concocting the murder plot. Lisa is a serpent-like character who plays off her intentions of having him to herself by talking with a shaky voice and dressing raggedy. She gathers a group of brain dead stoner friends who haven’t even met Bobby. What I liked best were the undertone’s of the movie and characters within the movie. Clark hints at Kent’s possible crush on Marty but never actually rectifies it to the audience. You get the message throughout the film in scenes where he pimps Marty in a gay club and when the two are having sex with the girls in the car, he ogles Marty and looks at Lisa with disgust.

He also manages to keep Marty from going on a date with a hot girl by telling her his girlfriend is pregnant. Also, in one scene the two fight like a couple in a car, and while Marty is having sex with Lisa in a room, Kent comes in naked and the scene fades away prompting you to wonder which of the two did he have sex with? After watching the director’s first controversial outing into the movie genre with the senseless and tepid “Kids”, and his faux- horror movie “Teenage Caveman”, you have to wonder if in a past life he was a pornographer. Like much of his movies, Clark features a lot of drawn out and basically gratuitous sex scenes during the movie.

Clark likes to make these full frontal nude shots of his actors and actresses and have them in these annoying scenes that feel like he’s directing more of a porn than an actual film and then tries to pass them off as art. You can sense he has an inherent lust for his young actresses as he casts basically unknown young good-looking girls and shows a lot of butt and chest shots including that of Bijou Phillips. The utterly gratuitous and pointless sexual and nude scenes manages to take away from the paper thin story rather than add to it. You have to wonder what Clark’s intentions for this movie are at times on whether he intended to create a movie or just a dressed up child porn flick.

To top that off, director Clark is not enough of a good director to pass this off as art to begin with. Many of the camera angles in the movie are too shaky and dark to even get the sense of what’s really happening in the story and to the characters. “Bully” has no idea what type of film it wants to be; it’s first a portrait of characters, then it’s a porno, then towards the brutal murder scene, it takes a dark humorous turn as the murder and concealing of the murder is accompanied by witty one-liners from the characters. Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro give great performances but “Bully” is much too concerned with flashing nude scenes of its barely legal cast to make a point or unfold a story.