Hurlyburly
** GM
Starring: Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Garry Shandling, Anna Paquin, Meg Ryan, Robin Wright Penn, Chazz Palminteri

Home

CriminyPete Awards

Good Movie Archive

Bad Movie Archive

The eGroup

Message Board

Links


After seeing "Another Day In Paradise," I asked for a halt on all movies about small-time junkie criminals. After "Hurlyburly," I think graphic drug use in general should be put on hold for a while. However, Kevin Spacey has the uncanny ability to make a movie watchable, just as James Woods did with the former film.

This is the story of three casting executives - Eddie (Sean Penn), Mickey (Spacey) and Artie (Garry Shandling)- and their seemingly dense struggling-actor ex-convict friend Phil (Chazz Palminteri). Eddie and Phil have a bond of sorts, but Mickey and Artie just find Phil to be a source of amusement and think that Eddie only likes Phil because Phil is an utter loser and will always be worse off than Eddie is, even though Eddie is a coked-out paranoid Hollywood schlub.

After these three uber-males use and abuse the disturbingly willing Donna (Anna Paquin), and after Mickey and Eddie quibble over who should have the right to be dating Darlene (Robin Wright Penn), they get blitzed one night and try to set up Phil, a cretin with violent tendencies and a penchant for overanalyzing everything and still coming nowhere near the right answer, with a quick'n'easy Bonnie (Meg Ryan), and bad juju ensues.

Spacey is always great to watch, especially as the cold, flip, sarcastic counter to the spastic, sweating nervous blathering of Penn - whose character could have gotten annoying very quickly, but he manages to keep it from the stereotypical realm and actually inject a bit of warmth and humanity by the end of the film. Chazz has several amusing lines, and he's appropriately unnerving when he's crossed or confused. It's also fun to see Meg Ryan playing something other than the adorable, impossibly sweet "When Harry Met Sleepless In Seattle On The Net" kinda gal. She's good as the strung-out exotic dancer who happens to be a mother of a most-likely-shattered child.

I was a bit unnerved watching Paquin, though. Wasn't she 11 a little bit ago? She's cavorting around as a sex toy in exchange for having a place to crash. Apparently, she's 16 now or something, but I had the same disquieting thoughts that I did watching "Happiness" - aren't these kid actors a bit too young for what they're doing on screen? Then again, not every kid is the idiot I was when I was in my early teens.

The story is a bit too long, and it gets repetitive at times, but a good cast can overcome a lot of problems. Watching Sean Penn snort things all the time gets old and annoying pretty quick, though. Yes, he likes drugs. Move on.

Back to CriminyPete.Com Knee Jerk Spoilers