New Best Friend (2002)

New Best Friend (2002)

Taglines: How far would you go to fit in?

At fancy, private Colby University, in the North Carolina hills, a drug overdose puts a senior near death. The school administration calls in the acting sheriff to conduct “a delicate and discrete investigation” – a whitewash. The more he digs, the more evidence he finds that the overdose may have been attempted murder.

In flashbacks that parallel his investigation, we see Alicia, a scholarship girl worried about her grades, gradually pulled into the social life of three rich and amoral young women, led by the blond Hadley, a femme fatale. Before the investigation ends, we’ve met boyfriends, a drug dealer, Alicia’s mom, Hadley’s dad, nurses, doctors, and an orderly.

New Best Friend is a 2002 American film based on a story by author James Edwards. The film was originally owned by MGM, which eventually let this film go. Since then, TriStar Pictures acquired the rights to distribute this film in the United States and some other territories, primarily for home video market; still, TriStar Pictures gave this film a limited theatrical release in the United States on April 12, 2002.

New Best Friend (2002)

Film Review for New Best Friend

The biggest mystery in ”New Best Friend,” a preposterous, prurient whodunit set on a North Carolina college campus, is how a charismatic rising star like Taye Diggs got stuck in the thankless role of a police officer investigating a drug overdose. As Artie, the acting sheriff who is stonewalled by college officials while investigating the cocaine overdose of a student who lies near death in a hospital, Mr. Diggs has little to do but slouch around like a third-string Columbo, knocking on doors and politely asking questions.

The fictional Colby University, nestled in the North Carolina countryside, isn’t just any college. It appears to be a rural orgy palace that gives new meaning to the term party school. The booze and cocaine flow nonstop, and the most popular girls are blithely bisexual and tend to prefer three in a bed to two. All this is depicted with the leering soft-core explicitness of a Victoria’s Secret ad.

The film, which opens today in the New York metropoltian region, tracks the meteoric social ascent of Alicia (Mia Kirshner), a mousy student from a poor family who is taken under the wing of blond, beautiful, overprivileged Hadley (Meredith Monroe) after they begin collaborating on a sociology project. Under the tutelage of Hadley and her snooty sidekicks, Sidney (Dominique Swain) and Julianne (Rachel True), Alicia becomes one of the most popular babes on campus and an even more insatiable consumer of booze and blow than her mentors. Alicia’s embrace of depravity, the movie suggests, is her despairing response to her rejection for a scholarship to law school.

New Best Friend (2002)

But when Alicia flirts too aggressively with Hadley’s hunky boyfriend, Trevor (Scott Bairstow), the sisterhood becomes increasingly strained. One evening Alicia overdoses on what turns out to be pharmaceutically pure cocaine, not the diluted stuff the group is accustomed to sniffing by the bowlful. How did she get it? And why, oh why, Artie wonders, didn’t Alicia’s friends rush her to the hospital immediately instead of trying to revive her themselves?

Although the movie, directed by Zoe Clarke-Williams from a screenplay by Victoria Strouse, lamely teases us with the possibility that any of Alicia’s three pals might be the culprit, there is little doubt as to the villain’s identity. But long before the truth is spelled out, Alicia, who has revealed herself to be Machiavellian on a level to make Eve Harrington blush, has lost our sympathy.

New Best Friend Movie Poster (2002)

New Best Friend (2002)

Directed by: Zoe Clarke-Williams
Starring: Mia Kirshner, Taye Diggs, Dominique Swain, Rachel True, Scott Bairstow, Meredith Monroe, Joanna Canton. Glynnis O’Connor, Eric Michael Cole, Shawn Michelle Cosby
Screenplay by: Victoria Strouse
Production Design by: Burton Rencher
Cinematography by: Tom Priestley Jr.
Film Editing by: orman Buckley, Leo Trombetta
Costume Design by: Patsy Rainey
Set Decoration by: Valerie Fann
Art Direction by: Linwood Taylor
Music by: David A. Hughes, John Murphy
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, language and drug use.
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: April 12, 2002