April 24, 2009 at 1:00 am

Tom Long: 'The Informers' -- GRADE: F

Incompetence dooms repulsive 'Informers'

Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger star in "The Informers." (Senator Entertainment)

"The Informers" is such a wretched piece of garbage that there's a certain amount of guilt attached to even writing about it.

This film deserves as little notice as possible, mankind being far better with it far off the grid of consciousness. But such are the responsibilities of film criticism.

Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, adapted by Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki and directed by consistent underperformer Gregor Jordan ("Ned Kelly," "Buffalo Soldiers"), "The Informers" follows the lives of various unpleasant people in Los Angeles in the early '80s.

The most notable thing about the film may be how many good actors give bad, or simply numb, performances in it. Mickey Rourke plays a low-thug kidnapper, Billy Bob Thornton is a near-comatose studio head, Kim Basinger is his pill-popping ex-wife, Winona Ryder his TV personality ex-girlfriend.

Their mean stories are en-twined with a group of orgiastic, rich spoiled brats doomed to lives of meaningless sex and nice haircuts. Lou Taylor Pucci ("Thumbsucker") and Austin Nichols ("John from Cincinnati") stand out among the bunch, and hopefully this will be the darkest mark on their growing resumes.

The characters are uniformly unlikable, the stories contrived and disjointed, the insights non-existent. Honestly, it's hard to recall a film more incompetent and downright repellent.

Enough.

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