Director Austin Chick’s “Girls Against Boys” is not just a polemic about the crime of rape and gender inequality, but is never afraid to depict men as anything but horny monsters that prey on women, when they’re not degrading them. Never has a movie been so hell bent on making men feel bad about their danglers. “Girls Against Boys” is a typical rape revenge movie, that’s also a mopey, whiny, and very homophobic thriller that can never seem to decide if it’s exploitation or melodrama. Sometimes it’s “Thelma and Louise,” sometimes it’s “I Spit on Your Grave,” and sometimes it’s “Ms. 45.” And never remotely as good as the aforementioned titles.
It isn’t surprising considering Austin Chick also directed the equally tonally uneven art house drama “XX/XY,” and he displays the same sense of confusion here. One minute, the pair of girls are torturing a man on a table with power tools, the next they’re comically discussing Cap ‘n Crunch. It’s all so silly and pointless, that Chick seems to revel in filler and wasting time. Opening on a pointless and sadistic prologue, “Girls Against Boys” centers on Shae, a romantically frustrated young woman whose affair with an older man has come to a bitter end. After leaving her for his ex-wife, she wanders aimlessly in to fellow bar tender Lulu’s grip. Lulu is a manipulative lesbian woman who has a thing for Shae, and feeds in to her violent fantasies for the sake of potentially seducing and bedding her. She’s evil. You know that by her red hair, and the fact she scowls in almost every scene she’s in.
The girls then team up to begin wreaking havoc on anyone with genitals, bringing down Shae’s date from a club who rapes her on a stair well, and then her ex boyfriend. There is zero substance to “Girls Against Boys,” and it literally does nothing but bash men, depict homosexuals as evil, and rips off “Black Swan,” and “Fight Club” wholesale. Rather than bring audiences a head on rape revenge movie, director Chick side steps the whole straight forward narrative in favor of a self-important existential arthouse gloss that is absolutely tedious. Why do we even need to keep following Shae after her entire purpose has been fulfilled? “Girls Against Boys” isn’t a complete waste of space, as Nicole LaLiberte and Danielle Panabaker are not only very gorgeous, but have great chemistry together.
If Chick ever decided on a theme, these two could have knocked the film out of the park. Are we supposed to love or hate Shae? At certain points she’s a naive virginal protagonist, and the next moment she’s sexually liberated and seemingly in control of her sexual presence. Should we applaud these women or hate them for their sadism and merciless punishment? Most importantly, why does Chick condemn the audience for objectifying Shae and Lulu, while depicting them in sexy garb left and right? “Girls Against Boys” is a confused, ugly, and utterly nonsensical violent tirade that pretends to comment on gender dynamics, but really offers no actual moral or message when it mercifully comes to a close.