The Informers

Mickey Rourke , a menacing figure in "The Informers."

Directed by Gregor Jordan. With Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, Jon Foster, Amber Heard and Chris Isaak. Distributed by Senator Entertainment. 1 hour, 38 mins. R (nudity, sex, drugs, alcohol, profanity, adult themes). Area theaters.

In the same way 1967's Valley of the Dolls took the trash prose of Jacqueline Susann's L.A. novel and turned it into eye-poppingly awful cinema, Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers - another tale of Tinseltown drugs, sex and excess - has transferred itself to the screen with mind-boggling, laugh-inciting horribleness.

Set in 1983, when the hair was big and the music bad (Pat Benatar, Gary Numan, Flock of Seagulls), The Informers tracks a beautiful group of guys and gals who party like their lives depend on it. In fact, one of them dies right off the bat - hit by a car as he's heading off to a menage a trois. The wake brings out his friends and family, revealing them to be self-involved, sex-obsessed and not terribly mournful at all.

There's an impressive lineup playing it straight in this unintentional camp mess: Kim Basinger, as the pill-popping, sad and separated spouse to Billy Bob Thornton's Hollywood producer; Winona Ryder as a TV anchorwoman having an affair with said producer; Mickey Rourke as a low-life kidnapper (don't ask); Chris Isaak as a debauched dad; Rhys Ifans as a road manager to the drugged-out front man of the Brit band that gives the movie its name.

And then there are those beautiful boys and girls, wearing dark shades and not much else, trading partners, posing, preening: Jon Foster, Amber Heard, Austin Nichols, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Stroup. Oscars to them one and all! - Steven Rea

The Informers

Directed by Gregor Jordan. With Kim Basinger, Rhys Ifans, Mickey Rourke, Jon Foster, Winona Ryder, Amber Heard, Mel Raido, Chris Isaak, Billy Bob Thornton, Lou Taylor Pucci. Distributed by Senator International.

Running time: 1 hours, 38 minutes.

Parent's guide: R (for strong sexual content, nudity, drug use, pervasive language and some disturbing images).

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