One of the double-edged effects of film school is that just about any director who graduates is able to produce a technically proficient film, no matter the story. The tale, however, is the key, and creativity cannot be taught. Loaded is a perfect example of the good and bad of film school influence on Hollywood. Loaded stars Jesse Metcalfe of TV's Desperate Housewives, and is directed by Alan Pao, whose direction is solid throughout, even as the final act descends into absurdity. Metcalfe is surprisingly credible as Tristan, a former wild child whose life was irrevocably changed when a party at his college apartment spiralled out of control and his girlfriend died. The story picks up six years later as Tristan, back in the home of his wealthy parents and preparing for law school, unexpectedly meets up with a former cohort, Sebastian (Corey Large), who lures him into a maelstrom of sleeze and violence. Being Southern California, the thugs and the girl are all traffic-stoppers and in impeccably good shape, none of which hampers the viewer from entering the demimonde the director constructs. But once the set-up becomes clear, the movie goes haywire, oblivious to the glaringly obvious implications of the cast's behaviour. It's difficult to suspend belief while unconsciously muttering, "that's stupid". The acting varies, with Large proving the weakest in a part that demands credibility. But being one of the producers, he obviously got the pick of the litter, not to mention his picture on the cover of the DVD box. In the end, it's not a bad film for a guys' night in the den if you really don't have much else to do.