Picks and Pans Review: The Last Days of Disco

updated 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Eigeman, Mackenzie Astin, Matt Keesiar

It is the early 1980s, and in the amusingly sly Last Days of Disco two ex-college classmates spend their days toiling as lowly editorial assistants at a Manhattan publishing house and their nights grooving to the beat at a chic disco. Alice (Sevigny) is in wonderland, unsure of herself and awkward with the era's promiscuous sexual rituals. Charlotte (Beckinsale, who's British but here shows off a flawless American accent) is more self-assured, smugly viewing herself as always being at the center of the action.

Disco is the third in writer-director Whit Stillman's tart trilogy of films (after 1990's Metropolitan and 1994's Barcelona) about growing up privileged, well-educated and relentlessly glib. It takes time to sort out Disco's many characters and relationships, but once you do—just like disco—the beat takes over and you're in the flow. In the end, Disco is really a love story, with the most awkward characters turning out to be the best at life's dance. (R)

Bottom Line: Saturday Night Fever for eggheads

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