Bad Influence, while not a bad film, is certainly not a good one either. Try as I might I could not bring myself to really care about any of the characters. The film tries to portray Rob Lowe’s influence on James Spader as, well … bad. It’s not like he was a great guy to begin with. There is an incredible irony within the film when Lowe gets Spader out of a marriage he is dreading by slipping the family a copy of the groom-to-be having sex with another woman. Lowe, of course, had a real life video tape episode and Spader dealt with the same thing in Sex, Lies, and Video Tape. Mostly it plays out like an R-rated made-for-TV film.
Michael Boll (Spader) lives an average but boring life. He dreads his forthcoming marriage and he’s picked on by his colleagues at the office. Things turn around when he is nearly beaten up at a local bar only to be rescued by the mysterious Alex (Lowe).Their relationship takes odd turns into violence and crime as Alex teaches Michael to be more aggressive in his life.
This DVD contains a very simple Dolby 2.0 track. There doesn’t seem to be much need for surround as the original soundtrack is uninspiring. The sound is ordinary. Spader’s dialogue often gets lost. This is one of those discs where you might have to go back to figure out what someone said.
Bad Influence is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The video is quite grainy and there are many examples of film specks and score marks from the print. Colors are often dull. Blacks are the best that can be said for the film. They are often detailed if not rich. There is a Pan & Scan version on the other side of the disc if anyone really cares.
Obviously MGM had about as high an opinion on this film as I did. They only included a poor transfer of the theatrical trailer.
If you’re looking for high points, watch for Star Trek’s Q, John DeLancie, in a small role as Michael’s boss. The film will satisfy those with a morbid sense of voyeurism. If you’re curious, rent it. If you buy it just remember, “You only got what you really wanted.”