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Lara Flynn Boyle's Big Mystery

Lara Flynn Boyle  | 'Born Rich' — and Dumb  | Lennon Musical

Lara Flynn Boyle's Big Mystery

Get ready, because yet another actor is about to get behind the camera.

Lara Flynn Boyle, known for her work as A.D.A. Helen Gamble on "The Practice" and ditzy teen Donna on "Twin Peaks," is becoming a director.

Boyle — wearing lots of makeup and looking sultry — shimmied into the Paris Review party Tuesday night, but kept way out of the way. In fact, if publicist R. Couri Hay hadn't noticed a person "who looks just like Lara Flynn Boyle," we might have all missed her.

Jack Nicholson's sometime, one-time girlfriend came to the big literary event with a dark-haired, unidentified young man. She told me was there to see her long-time pal Alec Baldwin read a Jack Kerouac passage onstage.

But Boyle's big, mysterious new project is something she's directing for HBO. Whatever it is — and no one, including her close friends, seems to know if it's a comedy, drama or documentary — starts production soon in New York.

Eight years ago, at the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Boyle, George Clooney and Gina Gershon played a mean game of all-night blackjack with me and Page Six's Richard Johnson. I wondered if Boyle remembered this long-ago sojourn.

"Yes!" she cried. "And I won you a lot of money if I recall!" And then, perhaps in search of a late-night dinner, she disappeared.

'Born Rich' — and Dumb

It's not TV, it's HBO, although Josiah Hornblower's mother doesn't know about it.

"She doesn't have HBO," he said last night. "I don't think she even has cable."

What a shame, because Hornblower's mother, a descendant of the Whitney-Vanderbilt family, could see her 28-year-old son in a new HBO offering called "Born Rich."

Billed incorrectly as a documentary — it isn't, trust me — "Born Rich" was made by silver-spoon owner Jamie Johnson. He's the grandson or something of the founder of Johnson & Johnson, and thought it would be enlightening or fun to make a film about all his young friends who live on inherited wealth.

It's too easy to say he was wrong. Critiquing "Born Rich" is like shooting fish in a barrel. You know going in that all the participants will be insipid and stupid, bratty nincompoops who deserve a good whacking and pick-pocketing at the same time.

If you accept that, then "Born Rich" is a big success. If not, well, get ready to be snarky.

Johnson's film could have been eye-opening if he were a real filmmaker, or at had least found one to help him. But "Born Rich" leaves you knowing nothing except that money and youth are wasted on the young.

For instance, there's the young Italian whose biggest concern in life is finding a good tailor. He complains that "low lapels" on a suit jacket are gauche.

"That's what Clinton had," he says with disgust.

Yeah, you want to strangle him, but there are other rocket scientists here to deal with: Ivanka Trump, Luke Weil, Si Newhouse, Georgina Bloomberg (daughter of New York City's mayor), Stephanie Ercklentz, Juliet Hartford, Carlo von Zeitschel and the truly odious Christina Floyd, daughter of famous golfer Raymond Floyd, among them.

(I was disappointed that the biggest society nitwits of all time, Paris and Nicky Hilton, were not in the film. These two dopes were featured on "Oprah" earlier this week along with Johnson, which led me to believe they'd been included. Why there's been no federal legislation banning these two from public appearances is a mystery to me. Check the "Oprah" tape for Paris' inability to remember that the white box in her house with clothes and water in it is called a "washing machine.")

Of course this group whines about everything. They don't work — big surprise! But worse than that, they are an uneducated group of louts who only know each other (thank goodness.)

Surely the worst moment in the film belongs to Floyd, who describes, without any irony, the restricted nature of the Southampton Bath and Tennis Club, which remains exclusive of Jews, blacks or minorities of any kind.

If Johnson were an actual filmmaker, he might have addressed this issue, but he's not. In the end he's one of them, and he lets Floyd's moronic and alarming comments float by as if they were no worse than the issue of good tailoring.

Johnson misses a lot of other things too. Even though you might think being this stupid is at least mitigated by being really, really rich, there's no indication that the money can vanish as easily as it came.

Hartford's father Huntington, for example, frittered away an enormous estate, leaving her and her mother in dire straits. This is never explained.

Trump, sporting several hair-coloring jobs over a short time, alludes to the financial trouble her father, Donald, experienced in the mid-'90s. But this is also glossed over, as are almost any in-depth discussions of these kids' parents' multiple marriages, public affairs and other scandals.

In the end, the only mildly sympathetic character is Hornblower. His lineage makes for interesting stuff. Mother is a "first cousin once removed" of Gloria Vanderbilt. He is named on his father's side for a member of the Continental Congress who was known for smuggling the first steam engine from England to America. Another ancestor was a Supreme Court Justice in 1800.

To his credit, young Josiah actually works, at an investment house. His visit to Grand Central Terminal, built by his ancestors, is the one witty moment in the film.

But really, by the end of "Born Rich," even die-hard Republicans will be considering some kind of special new income tax, or perhaps even socialism.

John Lennon Musical: Old News; Stayed Focus-ed

Yesterday's big lead story in Variety was all about Yoko Ono giving the rights for a John Lennon musical. Don Scardino, the exclusive claimed, would direct this offering. Of course, everyone picked it up and ran with it.

Ahem: We told you this story on April 11, 2003, exactly six months ago. Check the Fox411 Archives.

Meantime, the folks at Focus Features really reacted badly to our story on Monday about Gwyneth Paltrow. I don't know what they were more upset about — the fact that Paltrow publicly dissed Miramax in front of 60 people, including two journalists, or that there was some inference that the not-so-good movie "Sylvia" was a Miramax hand-me-down.

Our Focus friends should learn to lighten up. Last year they produced some excellent movies, including "Far From Heaven" and "The Pianist." This year they have "21 Grams."

Studio heads David Linde and James Schamus are smart, talented guys with a big future. But when celebrities behave badly in public, there's not much we can do except report it. You decide. Stay focused, guys. You have a lot going for you.

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