While I was flipping the channels of the cable TV thing, I stumbled through this movie, and since I didn't have anything to do and it was barely starting, I decided to tag along for the ride. And what happens? I was there watching till the end, trying to get some sense of the movie's message but in the end, I ended up pretty confused. Mainly because I couldn't understand where the fuck this movie wanted me to go. Or maybe thatís the point of the movie, to get you confused, or to show how fucked up can you get when you're into drugs. But anyway, the many points this movie tries to address, most of them are achieved, but many of them just painfully leave something to be desired.So this film consists of four friends, or four fucks: Eddie (Sean Penn in a great performance), Mickey (Kevin Spacey, who does his part good too), and Phil (The ever weary Chazz Palminteri) who basically live up their lives by getting high, talking about sex, and trying to dedicate themselves in the movie business, since Eddie and Mickey are casting officials. Whatís interesting is during the movie, the conversations between Eddie and Mickey spread over through the living room and through cell phones, which I thought it was an interesting touch, but is used a lot to the point of being somewhat annoying. But these two at first, keep talking about a girl, Darlene (Robin Wright-Penn, surprised?), which, to sum it up, it all goes like this, in Eddie's point of view: "She's my best friend's girl, but she used to be mine." Phil is a more violent type of person, a struggling actor, who tries to get advice from his friends but doesn't seem to get the right answers for his questions, which in the end will lead him to a total depression.
"An Overacted And Confused Drama"
Then they come back to the house and we are introduced to the fourth friend, Artie (Garry Shandling), and a girl called Donna (Anna Paquin), who Artie supposedly found in the elevator of his own job, and leaves her to them, you know, "to train how to fuck, in case you meet the lucky broad." At first I thought the movie was heading somewhere here in this part, but I would be mistaken, since later she gets involved in a fight with Phil and she leaves, only to come back towards the end of the movie. And yeah, watching Eddie having sex with someone underage, you may think heís some sick bastard, but what the hell, she doesn't give a shit, she's a slut, plus Eddie's high on coke. Then the fight of words goes on with the "she's mine" thing, in which Mickey realizes both Eddie and Darlene were made for each other. Getting dizzy?
But the relationship, which turns later plastic, Phil's depression on how to fix things with his wife, and the continuous drug use drive Eddie to madness little by little. Phil's depression even worsens when a year later, one night, Eddie and friends set him up on a blind date, after he brings the news that he just had a baby with his wife, and just divorced her. The date? Bonnie (Meg Ryan), a single mother prostitute with a thing for balloons, blowjobs. The date doesn't go well, since Phil is pissed, and in an act of nonsense, he throws Bonnie of the car, while they were driving to town. Bonnie goes back to the house and rants, and Eddie rants too, in fact, everybody rants in the end.
At this point, when Phil returns, we get through Eddie, a sense of how drugs can really screw you. He sees the news; he hears the deaths, the shootouts, the violence, and Eddie rants everywhere on how society has turned into a pretty pissed poor world where all they think about is destroy themselves. The appearance of Phil's baby shows us, how innocent at first we are, compared to the scum the world is and we turn to, which I though it was a nice detail. But as you watch the movie, there are many scenes that don't fit together, which make me think that probably the entire subject is just an anti-drug movie. Or probably it just show us how fucked up our world is, or how sometimes our friends need our help but we don't listen, we don't care until something happens to them, but by then its too late. The final part of the movie, which was written by David Rabe based on his own successful play, doesn't totally fulfill these points and fails to explain you what the real message is that its exposing, so in the end you leave empty-handed. The performances were great by all the actors, though they seemed to overact in some points in the movie, which I felt it was totally unnecessary, and Anthony Drazan's direction was good, but the script left a lot to be desired.In the end, I can't recommend this movie to everyone, unless you're a wannabe David Lynch fan, since it shows some paranoia that later you'll see in a greater scale on Lynch films, but its probably worth a casual look. Why do I say that? Because the only things that are worth seeing are the complex dialogue, and a look at how fucked up the world is, all seen through the eyes of a bunch of fucked up, drug addicts. But that doesn't mean that you're going to love this movie the very instant you see it, I warn you. Oh, and now I know why Kevin Spacey said that he's not going to make any other flops after winning the Oscar, he probably referred to this flick, though looking at it in another way, its not that bad, but its not that good either. (2.5-5)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=802&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/06/01 09:29:46