DEVOLVED Writer-director John Cregan's satire Devolved is a fusion of sources already genetically linked: John Hughes films and Lord of the Flies. The former gets a nod on Devolved's soundtrack; the latter is referenced point-blank in voice-over. Despite its obviousness, the movie is better than you'd expect, and glimmers of wit in the script suggest that something even stronger was within reach. Eighteen high school seniors on spring break wash ashore on a deserted island after the ship carrying them sinks. The group breaks down perfectly into their school's subsets — the Populars and the Unpopulars — with almost every "type" represented: football captain, head cheerleader, president of the science club, stoner, etc. Having salvaged their bongs and booze, the Populars are content to drink, drug and re-create their kingdom on the island, while their counterparts scramble to try to get back home. Soon lines are blurred and castes are betrayed; one of the Unpopulars becomes island leader, gets a Popular as a girlfriend and is seduced by his new power, leading the deposed jock to plot a violent return to supremacy. Unlike in a Hughes film, there are no classic lines, though there are some good ones, and the energy often flags, but the cast is appealing and there are low-grade chuckles aplenty. (Ernest Hardy) (Sunset 5)
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