Those looking for cheerful escapism generally steer clear of the works of author Bret Easton Ellis. Following film versions of American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction, his latest screen adaptation, The Informers, is overpopulated with Ellis' usual mix of vapid, self-involved and otherwise generally loathsome characters. Popcorn flick this is not.

Those looking for cheerful escapism generally steer clear of the works of author Bret Easton Ellis. Following film versions of American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction, his latest screen adaptation, The Informers, is overpopulated with Ellis' usual mix of vapid, self-involved and otherwise generally loathsome characters. Popcorn flick this is not.

Set in a 1983 Los Angeles awash with Ray-Bans and cocaine, it interweaves tales of poor little rich kids doing drugs and one another with youthful abandon, a detached rock star (Rhys Ifans channeling Bob Geldof's Pink), an adulterous movie producer and his estranged wife (Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger) and a deeply amoral ex-con (Mickey Rourke). Oh, and the original script and novel had a vampire, notably absent from the final film version.

Ellis' works are famously inflammatory, but missing here is some satire or black humor to balance the moral bankruptcy. Director Gregor Jordan boils the flesh from these characters, leaving his ensemble cast to work with skeletons. There are great character moments hiding here, but they're a rarity.

The overlapping narratives are reminiscent of Crash or Boogie Nights, but the loose ties make its closest sibling Robert Altman's Short Cuts. While that film develops over three hours, Informers clocks in at roughly half that, making it the rare mediocre film that I actually wish was longer.