I had high hopes for this one, given the cast (including Julia Stiles in the role of Desi) , having enjoyed some of the other modern-day versions of Shakespeare plays, such as "10 Things I Hate About You".
I quite like modern-day remakes that manage to portray Shakespeares' characters as the complex, but occasionally flawed, individuals that they are. However, the "Othello" character, Odi, was not particularly strong or believable, and he is presented as a rather gullible, macho guy, making him rather one-dimensional. Julia Stiles was not given the opportunity to shine as the bright, intelligent and capable actress that she is in a script that cast her as a rather watered-down version of Desdemona (Desi in this film version). Desi's friend and roommate, Emily, who represents Shakespeare's Emilia, who is originally strong, supportive, faithful and caring to Desdemona, comes across as shifty and a bit of a traitor.
The film is set in an American Prep School, which seems more like an hotel. The male characters's story centres around High School basketball and their vying for popularity in that scene, which is something which an American/Canadian audience can more relate to more readily than a British one.
If you're struggling through your text of Othello and are desperate to see a stage or film version, I would forget this one and get hold of Janet Suzman's stage version of Othello, produced in South Africa. It has far more depth and intrigue and is definitely more memorable!