Starring: Paris Hilton, Paula Garcés, Sarah Carter
Director: William Heins
Running Time: 91 mins
Pledge This! is an American film about a group of misfit girls who join the most popular sorority at their university, which is trying to win the prize of America’s ‘Hottest Sorority’ under the leadership of a mean-spirited president.
There’s a difference between fun-loving, fluffy college comedies and films which are outright disgusting. Not only is Pledge This! a morally infuriating watch throughout, but it’s full of gratuitous and pointless nudity, hateful characters, terrible humour and a number of examples of really bad filmmaking. As a result, it’s not even so-bad-it’s-good, but just plain awful.
Let’s get a few things straight before I get into a bit of a tirade about this movie. Causing offense is generally not something I seek to criticise in films. Everybody has different values, different opinions, and it’s not fair to purely dismiss a film as ‘offensive’ just because I might not agree with it.
However, Pledge This! is one of the worst examples of entirely morally bankrupt filmmaking that I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Tedious beyond belief and with no story to tell, the film is nothing more than a superficial and lazy exercise in uninteresting college comedy and some of the worst characters you’ll ever have the displeasure to come across.
While the film tries to tell a story about misfits getting their own back on a vapid and mean ‘popular girl’, you never sense that that’s the message that this film really wants to put across. Couple that with the fact that it all ends on a horribly disingenuous note in which Paris Hilton’s character goes from stuck-up and spoilt to a benevolent and caring leader with the click of your fingers, and it’s apparent that this movie is nowhere near as kind-hearted or fun-loving as it tries to seem.
Again, college comedies don’t have to be all fluffy and nice to entertain, and a little bit of controversial, edgy comedy is always welcome. But in the case of Pledge This!, random, excessive and overlong scenes of nudity and some really nasty, mean-spirited dialogue is somehow taken as an excuse for more audacious comedy.
The nudity and sex scenes are a real problem here, because there’s just so many of them that add nothing to the film whatsoever. Are they funny? No. Are they interesting or emotionally relevant? No. Are they painfully drawn-out, explicit and pretty much scenes cut from an adult film? Yes, yes and yes.
Even the most crass and juvenile of teen movies at least have a semblance of self-awareness and playfulness to them. When you’re watching Pledge This!, though, you can never tell whether it’s setting up for a turn towards the light, or really is as dumb and nasty as seems impossible.
Strangely, I found myself laughing a lot at this movie, but I could never tell whether I was laughing at jokes it intentionally makes, or just at how unbelievably bad it is. And again, that’s not a fun, ironic kind of enjoyment, but pure bewilderment that’s in no way akin to the entertainment of so-bad-it’s-good movies.
It’s really difficult to find positives here, and although I would say that the production values aren’t terrible, the film still manages to make a number of glaring errors in editing despite its clearly larger budget. Meanwhile, some of the cast is fine, but Paris Hilton’s unbearable performance and a couple of supporting characters really bring the rest of the ensemble down.
In short, Pledge This! is pretty much as hateful as it gets. Basically, I suggest you avoid it at all costs. And that’s why I’m giving it a 0.5 overall.