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This was a short film that has been given the full length treatment. It is about all round good girl Alexa. She studies hard dress's nice and is a general swot who wants to be `an actor'. She has a best friend in gay Ben (Ashley Springer) and they both fall for the same guy. He is loner and all round cool kid - Johnny.
Well after a master class in acting from Alan Cumming, doing a cameo as, an American star of stage (Grant Matson) - Alex decides to up her game and garner a bit more life experience. This is ostensibly so she will have more to draw on from the old emotional bank when doing her `acting'. So she reinvents herself as some sort of uber vixen and goes all out for some hands on experience. The die is cast when all rules are off and it is only ever going to result in mayhem - thus the stage is set.
This is a very watchable and enjoyable gay themed drama. There is not a lot in the bedroom department, but this is more about the emotional effects that coital activity can have on the young and uninitiated. All in all one of those you will want to see if you are an aficionado of all films with a gay genre.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The Truth About DareFeb. 27 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Not since Threesome (1994), which born-again Stephen Baldwin has since disowned, has there been such a daring coupling of two men and one woman on screen. The tagline of that earlier film, "One girl. Two guys. Three possibilities," might have been adopted for Dare as well. The elephant in the room is the excellent Dare (2005) short included on the Blu-ray disc. While the swimming pool "dare" scene that is most of the short also appears in the new film, it has been truncated for no obvious reason, and it is not one of the deleted scenes. The new film also suffers by comparison because the chemistry between Johnny and Ben seems stronger in the short.
The new film is really not a gay film anymore. Alexa, who is peripheral to the short, drives the new film from the opening frames. Johnny's backstory of a distant father and a youthful stepmother certainly explains his vulnerability, but his friends are not privy to the same personal details the audience sees, and that sets up the somewhat unsatisfactory, though perhaps realistic, ending. Threesome, based on the college experiences of the director, was shot with an alternative ending that appeared on the 2001 release (unlike some male-male scenes that were cut and never seen) which also had problems. How do you resolve any threesome satisfactorily? We never learn how Johnny vanquished his personal demons except to see the sign on the door he enters in the last frames.
Threesome has about the same rating as this film overall, but has more five-star votes than otherwise. I would recommend Threesome over Dare, but the Dare short is a keeper and film comes very close as well.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A must see - becomes a must ownDec 11 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
There is an accepted lie that is told by Hollywood teen films: That everyone falls into types. The Geeky guy, the Jock, the hanger on, the bookish girl, the slutty girl, etc. as reliable as the characters tropes in a WWII men on a mission film. You know what you are getting, and everyone fulfills their roles in the formula. And its a winning formula every time From "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", to "The Breakfast Club", even lesser fare like "Bring it On" make this work. And its a fun fantasy.
DARE exists in the Twilight Zone of those films. We start in the very familiar teen film world Soccer Star; Stage Crew nerd; Star Student, and act by act, character by character deconstruct it all until we are left with three very real and very vulnerable teens who are in over their heads. It doesn't matter if you were like the one of the characters (and chances are you were) someone you know was.
Emmy Rossum shrugs off her Hollywood training and digs deep for all that is good and ugly about her character Alexa. No one who sees her here will forget her transformation from blushing wall flower to would be seductress. Nor will they forget her face in the final scene when she realizes she isn't really either of those things.
Ashley Springer takes a difficult role and humanizes it - taking the "gay best friend" out of the glib pigeon hole that Sex and the City put him in, and makes him real. He will make you wonder about Ducky.
Zach Gilford as the Jock will surprise anyone who hasn't been watching Friday Night Lights. He turns in an eye opening performance and by the end you will be feeling every last moment with him. I saw this film at Sundance and the crowd there fell for him. Will make you wonder about Emilio Estevez's character in "The Breakfast Club", or maybe your self a little.
When DARE ends, the teen genre is on its head and all the better for it. Buy this film. If you were ever a teenager this movie will thrill you.
Its a first feature for Director Adam Salky and writer David Brind. Its a stunning debut. If you didn't get the chance to see the film in its all too brief theatrical run see it on DVD. Show that their is support for independent movies with independent thinking.
We all know the indie film world is falling apart - one way to reverse that is going to see films in theaters. Next best is seeing them on DVD. Films like this deserve and audience now matter where they find it. My recommendation is to watch with friends. You are going to want to discuss it once you have seen it. At the very least make sure you have the numbers of your high school friends with you. This movie is going make you want to talk to them.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Kids Are Not All Right, But they Will Be--A Surprisingly Effective And Daring High School DramaApril 18 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
With its high school setting and the evocative title "Dare," I was prepared for this film to be either a standard teenage romp or perhaps a cautionary tale about alienated youth causing mischief. In fact, it is a rather sensitively wrought tale of conflicted emotions and youth struggling for identity. Blurring lines between sex and friendship, "Dare" introduces a somewhat accidental threesome that is as intriguing as it is believable. This non-traditional bond is purely unintentional with each party seeking something from the relationship that will never be fully realized. Earnest, and even heartbreaking, the film grows more disturbing as it progresses--with the teens both liberating one another while causing emotional damage.
The film is split into three parts--one to represent each of the young protagonists. Emmy Rossum effectively plays an overachiever who doesn't quite click with the popular crowd. When paired for an assignment with rebel jock Zach Gilford, she takes this as a chance to challenge the good girl expectations placed on her by advancing a sexual liaison with him. Her best guy pal, Ashley Springer, is struggling with his own sexual identity--he's both jealous of the new couple and wanting some alone time with Gilford as well. And Gilford, for his part, is much more troubled and complex than he seems and simply yearns for the closeness and normalcy of having real friends. Soon something rather illicit is happening--but with all the conflicting expectations, it seems a recipe for disaster.
All of the performances are terrific. Springer and Rossum capture the push/pull dynamic of a close friendship. Ana Gasteyer has a pivotal and effective role as Springer's mother, and Rooney Mara, Sandra Bernhard, and Alan Cumming lend able support. But in many ways, the film belongs to Gilford--likable on Friday Night Lights, but displaying unexpected depth and poignancy here. It is a star performance layered with complexity. What I like most about "Dare," ultimately, is that it is messy, emotional and confused. It has much to say about contemporary relationships even in its unconventional and daring set-up. All in all, this drama of teen angst is refreshingly adult! KGHarris, 4/11.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
theater as metaphorJan. 24 2011
Roland E. Zwick
- Published on Amazon.com
In "Dare," Alexa (played by the winning Emmy Rossum) is an inexperienced, socially inept teenaged actress who decides to become a "bad girl" so she'll be more in touch with the characters she`s playing (her current role is that of the world-weary Blanche Dubois in a high school production of "A Streetcar Named Desire"). Not only does this open up a whole new realm of experiences for the young lady herself, but it leads to a chain reaction for the two most important people in her life: her geeky best friend, Ben (Ashley Springer), who becomes seemingly jealous when Alexi takes up with the school's brooding, arrogant jock, Johnny (Zach Gilford); and Johnny himself who reveals some surprising truths about himself before the story's over. "Dare" is all about the roles we take on at various points in our lives, and how different we can appear to the world once the masks we are wearing are stripped off - thereby making the theatrical context the story uses a metaphor for real life.
Writer David Brind has divided his story into three parts, each focused on a different main character (Alexi comes first, followed by Ben, then Johnny). Since this has been largely conceived and constructed as a parable, the narrative lacks credibility on occasion and the storytelling does become a bit heavy-handed at times, but some genuinely unexpected plot twists, a blunt and honest approach towards sex and sexuality, an intriguing look at the boundaries of friendship, and an overall complexity of character make the film difficult to dismiss out of hand. In fact, its strangeness is probably its most compelling feature. Brind and director Adam Salky are obviously going for something offbeat and unusual here, and it is all to the movie's advantage ("Dare" is actually a fleshed-out version of a short film Salky made a few years earlier).
Fans of "Friday Night Lights" will be intrigued at seeing Gilford in a role that appears at first blush to be diametrically opposed to the sweet and likable Matt Saracen he plays on the series, though, as the story progresses and more layers are peeled off the character, we discover that Matt and Johnny actually have quite a bit in common with one another - mainly their feeling that they are largely unloved and alone in the world (Matt just deals with it better).
In addition to the three striking leads, Alan Cumming and Sandra Bernhard lend their support to the project in small but significant roles.
Despite its imperfections, this tale of youthful self-discovery emerges as a thoughtful and insightful look at the often painful, confusing, fumbling - yet wholly necessary - efforts teenagers must go through to find their place in the world.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
See people for who they really are.July 22 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Dare is a wonderful film that forces you to realize that things are not always what they appear. Is Johnny gay? Is he straight? Is he bisexual? Well, we learn that it doesn't matter, in this case it's not important, it isn't about sex. Johnny is starved for true affection, wanting to matter, to be substantial in someone's heart, to be loved as a person, having come from a wealthy, but indifferent, family whom he rarely interacts with. Alexa and Ben, his new friends, are caught up in their own pursuits. Ben has a crush on Johnny to the point that it forces Ben out of the closet. Alexa is ambitious, but she's confused as to why she really finds Johnny attractive. She wants to be an actor and is drawn to those who have a natural gift for it. This film defies the labels we apply to ourselves and others in order for us to follow some safe stereotypical path, to create a sense of security for ourselves. We want to follow the road most travelled so that we can believe we are "normal". The problem arises in the trio's relationship when Johnny mistakes the interest that his friends show toward him for honest affection. And, as many young people do, Alexa and Ben are oblivious to what Johnny really needs, being consumed by their own goals. Sex really doesn't matter to Johnny and so it is left as a side issue and we never know what his true sexual inclination is. One of the most revealing and heartwarming moments in the film is when Ruth (Ana Gasteyer) is taken aback by Johnny's forwardness when he reacts to her genuine compassion with sincere affection and love. A great film that reveals the confusion of youthful pursuits stem from the innermost needs that we really have.