Main cast: Katie Holmes (Katie Burke), Benjamin Bratt (Wade Handler), Charlie Hunnam (Embry Larkin), Zooey Deschanel (Samantha Harper), Mark Feuerstein (Robert Hanson), Fred Ward (Lieutenant Bill Stayton)
Director: Stephen Gaghan
It’s a running joke among viewers of Dawson’s Creek that Katie Holmes’s character, Joey Potter has it. This it makes every man – or boy, as it is more of the case in the TV show – falls in love with her or – if they are gay – wants to be her best friend forever. Abandon can best be called Joey Potter’s Revenge – every man in this movie loves her and think she is the best ever, but boy, will they be sorry that they subject the audience to their saccharine pap.
This inside joke would be enough to make this movie worth a watch if the movie isn’t paced like a snail’s final throes. Katie Holmes, knowing that if this movie flops she may never get a decent lead role again, puts her entire heart into playing, well, another Joey Potter, while Benjamin Bratt does okay, but they have no chemistry whatsoever. They later sleep together, but that’s because Joey Potter, sorry, I mean Katie Burke (not to be confused with the actress playing her, Katie Holmes) has it. Katie is close to graduating from college and she is so popular and smart and beautiful, every big shot corporation falls over each other wanting to hire Miss It. The really over-the-top drama/music college teacher Embry Larkinn also fell for Miss It two years ago, even if she sings off-key in his choir, but now he’s disappeared. Is he dead?
The cop Wade Handler, Mr Bratt’s character, is assigned to investigate this. His methods of investigation though seems to consist of asking Katie out for a date. The it, people, feel the it! So what happened to Embry? Is he still alive? If he isn’t, why is Katie seeing him in the strangest of moments?
I enjoy watching Mr Hunnam camping it up in his role, but everything else about this movie is dreary and lifeless. The depiction of college life rings real in a way – people are actually shown as studying and facing pressures instead of just partying from day to night – but at the same time, the dialogues are flat.
But its biggest problem is its very sluggish pacing all throughout the movie, with every plot twist crammed into the last ten minutes. Abandon is like a tardy college student’s assignment, come to think of it. It dawdles and fidgets about while saying nothing for too long, hoping that the examiners won’t notice. I’m afraid that when it comes to pretending to have done much more than it actually did, this movie doesn’t even come to close to succeeding.