Derrick, Jones, and Travis, three university students and roommates, collaborated on their new journalism class assignment: identifying the link between news and gossip. Derrick (James Marsden) stumbles onto the perfect subject matter for the assignment when he spies Naomi (Kate Hudson) – a beautiful, wealthy and chaste freshman – drunk and locked in the arms of her boyfriend, Beau (Joshua Jackson). Although Naomi’s determined attitudes on sex are well known, the trio nonetheless manufactures and plants a rumor that she and Beau have slept together.
Once this incendiary piece of gossip is released onto the fertile environment of the college campus, it immediately explodes beyond their control. As the police arrest Beau for date rape, Jones, Travis and Derrick become trapped by their malignant creation. Suddenly, their thoughtless game has become deadly serious – and when the secret past of one of the three surfaces, their friendship is torn apart.
Part “Murder She Wrote,” part “Columbo,” with a little “Cruel Intentions” thrown into the mix, it is an interesting suspense thriller. However, the sexual situations and language keep me from recommending it for family viewing. Also, the portrayal of these amoral university students who behave like Hemingway’s lost generation is a sad commentary concerning society’s views on promiscuous sex and the indulgence of drinking and smoking, which has been clearly shown to be harmful. Yet, the attractive cast, which serve as role models, overindulge in everything but a spiritual development. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28