Bad Influence (1990) is a noir thriller starring Rob Lowe and James Spader.
Michael Boll (James Spader) is an anxious and insecure yuppie with a beautiful fiancé who comes from a wealthy and prominent family. He appears to have everything, except the big promotion at work, for which he is fighting with Patterson (Tony Maggio). One day he is in a bar, awkwardly trying to help a pretty young female when her jealous boyfriend enters and threatens to beat him up, mainly because the usually intimidated Michael verbally stands up for himself for the first time in his life. Immediately sensing that Michael is not going to take the argument to a physical level, though, the boyfriend does. This is when a handsome stranger (Rob Lowe) appears and stops the bully in his tracks. He then disappears. Later that evening, Michael runs into the stranger again and he introduces himself as Alex, who turns out to be a drifter. From this point on, the confident Alex purposely manipulates Michael under false pretences. In some ways he helps Michael become more assertive, to deal with his insecurities about his marriage to Ruth Fielding (Marcia Cross), his inability to stand up to the deceitful Patterson, and introduces him to the mysterious and seductive Claire (Lisa Zane). But Alex's methods quickly turn out to be those of a someone who is reckless and unbalanced. When Michael attempts to end the friendship, Alex takes it upon himself to change Michael's mind, and this is when it becomes clear that Alex is a dangerous sociopath.
Rob Lowe as Alex
James Spader as Michael Boll
Lisa Zane as Claire
Christian Clemeson as Pismo Boll
Marcia Cross as Ruth Fielding
Tony Maggio as Patterson
John de Lancie as Howard
Kathleen Wilhoite as Leslie
John Mahon as Dr Fielding
Grand L Bush as Bartender
David Duchovny as Club Goer with Glasses
Susan Lee Hoffman as Karen, Woman in Bar
Jeff Kaake as Willie, Man in Bar
Perri Lister as Claire's Friend
Michael Kristick as Bouncer
Dir. Curtis Hanson
Scr. David Koepp
Prd. Steve Tisch
Music by Trevor Jones
*Nicholas Cage and Kevin Costner were considered for the role of Alex
*Matthew Broderick, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. turned down the part of Michael Boll
*Rob Lowe met his wife, make-up artist Sheryl Berkoff, on the set of Bad Influence. He recognized her as the had been on a blind date years before.
*Patricia Arquette turned down the role of Claire.