It'd be easy to attribute the title of Nowhere--Gregg Araki's final chapter in his "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy"--to its lack of a redeeming message. Like an exuberant yet caustic version of 90210 and Clueless--but with fewer Caucasians and lots more sexual options--it portrays aimless L.A. teens drugging it up, screwing their brains out, or just being brilliantly stupid. (These kids are as shallow as their lives are bleak.) But Nowhere also points to the film's direction, so to speak: a joyride during which plot is gleefully tossed out the window. And Araki's breezy virtuosity allows the film to slide almost seamlessly from a satire of a teen flick to a parody of a teen horror flick, in which a space alien shows up at a party and starts vaporizing people.
It doesn't hurt either that no one in Nowhere is not good-looking, even if all of them are as doomed as they are beautiful. As Dark, lead character and Araki alter ego, James Duval is a more delicious Keanu Reeves, mostly because he's not trying to be smart. Moreover, a entire B list of actors earns winks and nudges: Kathleen Robertson and Shannen Doherty from 90210, Brady Bunch-ers Christopher Knight and Eve Plumb, John Ritter, Traci Lords, and even Jaason Simmons from Baywatch. But mind you, Araki doesn't play only for kitsch. He's neither irreverent nor "quirky" but nihilistic and, to borrow the title of the trilogy's first installment, totally fucked-up. Despite nods to trash filmmakers like George Kuchar and Nick Zed, his product looks slick enough to appeal to the teens that it (almost literally) skewers. If there's such a thing as intelligent mindless entertainment, then this is a choice example.