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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.07%
Worth A Look: 20.48%
Pretty Bad: 6.02%
Total Crap: 22.89%

9 reviews, 29 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Unique in its own stink of awfulness."
1 stars

Oh, man! What happened here? It's impossible to believe that Hurlyburly offers two of America's finest actors (Penn & Spacey) and all they're given to do is spout 122 minutes of inane, nonsensical, and ultimately irritating dialogue. This is just an awful movie, and the split second you try to prove me wrong, I'll be able to show how pretentious and silly you really are. Yes, YOU!

Ever see Sean Penn to his "schizo cokehead freakout" performance. Yeah, me too. How about Kevin Spacey? You seen his "ultra-cool, sarcastic and detached" thing he enjoys doing? It's here. You wanna see Chazz Palminteri trying gamely (and failing miserably) at deep, existentialist ruminations, complete with his "deese or dose" accent? Trust me on this one: You don't. I would especially deter any hardcore Penn/Spacey fans from this movie, and it's only because they do absolutely nothing worth watching, and you may even end up liking them less.

See, this is the paragraph in the review where I usually try to describe what's commonly known as a "plot". Unfortunately, I have to fill this paragraph up with nonsense, since there is literally no plot to speak of in this self-important little piece of pretense. But Scott, this movie is based on an acclaimed theatrical play by David Rabe! You know what? Big deal. David Rabe also wrote the screenplay for The Firm, so I'm not impressed. Rabe's dialogue sounds a lot like David Mamet, only missing minor things like wit and insight.

This movie is literally a mere string of scenes, connected only by the sheer tediousness of the dialogue. These drug-addicted morons just prattle on and on endlessly about the nature of man, the way they should feel about things, the meaning of morality, and oh yeah, rolling joints and snorting lines and screwing underage girls. Would that it were a comedy, we'd maybe have something here. But no. Apparently this movie aspires for deep meaningful thought and intellectual style. Well, it fails; the movie simply is a handful of movie stars, indulgently spewing new-age psycho-babble as if it were Shakespeare.

Sean Penn plays Eddie. Eddie is a cokehead. He shares an apartment with Mickey, who is played by a humiliatingly blond-haired Kevin Spacey. The third coke fiend is Phil, who is played by Palminteri, in a role that seems tailored specifically to showcase what a poor actor this guy is. Watching many of the scenes, it seems like Penn and Spacey are in on a joke that Chazz is simply oblivious to. But wait! There's some surprises in store!

Garry Shandling shows up to do some lines and talk about the state of the universe with our idiotic trio. He brings along cute runaway Anna Paquin and "gives" her to Eddie. Then Meg Ryan shows up as a hooker who will do "anything", according to our drooling protagonists. Now come on! Why (other than the ultra-popular concept of 'gimmick casting') on earth would you try to cast Meg Ryan as a whore? Not only could she never pull it off, but it just shatters any realism your silly little movie could have had. Oh yeah, Robin Wright Penn shows up too, and she really stretches her acting chops, playing Sean Penn's girlfriend. (I don't know about you, but it's a special kind of creepy when husbands and wives screw on camera, isn't it?)

I was looking forward to catching this one on cable, since I wasn't able to catch it during the 4-weekday run it enjoyed here in Philadelphia. Suffice to say that my curiosity is now satisfied, and if all I have left from the experience of this awful movie is to perhaps dissuade you from seeing it, then maybe it was worth it.

Nah. It just really sucked.

A bad drama movie is my idea of 2 hours in hell. That's what this movie is. Empty, pointless, indulgent and self-important pontificating masquerading as social commentary. Literary masturbation at its most disturbing. Oh, yeah--It's also as boring as hell.

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originally posted: 09/29/00 15:52:52
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User Comments

5/29/16 Sheller Shit review. Great talky type of movie, good examination of psychosis and neurosis 4 stars
1/10/16 Caroline Winter Unbearable. Insufferable and full of itself. 1 stars
4/30/14 Mr Right Efficiency tip: watch first 15 min & last 15; you'll get full value + save yourself 100 min 2 stars
7/19/12 Luigi Great film, worthless review 5 stars
3/21/08 Ozan My favorite play & movie ever; a masterpiece completely misunderstood, like all genius is. 5 stars
7/02/07 fools♫gold What sarcasm? 5 stars
3/09/06 JLZ Total crap, indeed. 1 stars
11/17/04 psycho black dwarf A well-written, if not well-crafted "get over yourself" movie. 4 stars
5/11/04 Kooler Ugh--the kind of screenwriting hollywood thinks is intelligent and edgy. An embarrassment. 2 stars
6/11/03 Hottie okay 3 stars
4/01/03 Jack Sommersby Here, here, Charles! 1 stars
11/25/02 Charles Tatum Odious garbage that made me want a shower 1 stars
8/19/02 Mike Brilliant 5 stars
10/14/00 comeasur a reflection of the sickness in modern society. not a surprise that it is set hollywood. 4 stars
10/08/00 matthew nice? no. a tour de force for actors, brilliant, even meg ryan was 5 stars
8/08/00 Aron Tym Anderson An absolutely brilliant film, for those that can recognize one. 5 stars
3/11/00 JonnyAngel I can't explain but it's become a cult favorite of my cult 5 stars
1/08/00 seldom scene I was waiting for something to happen-This would make a better play than movie 3 stars
9/16/99 Ratso I thought this was a documentary on Sean Penn. Ooops. 1 stars
8/24/99 mard if you like coke and "fuck" this movie is for you otherwise who cares about these people? 2 stars
2/18/99 Derek Widely misunderstood movie. Great portrait of failure to connect w/ others in modern world 5 stars
2/15/99 emma mindblowing cast, mindnumbing movie 2 stars
2/01/99 Bridgette more like 3 1/2 stars, but spacey is wonderful 4 stars
1/22/99 Jeff good--love spacy--who know Meg Ryan was such a hottie as a coke head stripper?? 4 stars
1/12/99 Doobie Boy I was looking forward to this film, but it wasn't what I hoped. 3 stars
1/09/99 crc great cast (except ryan), wasteful, boring film. Long, dull-get ready to walk out early 1 stars
1/08/99 Movie Geezer Pathetic waste of time and talent. As bad a film as I have ever seen. 1 stars
12/30/98 The Dude Fucking great movie , Fucking great cast and it has Garry Shandling. 5 stars
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Directed by
  Anthony Drazan

Written by
  David Rabe

  Sean Penn
  Robin Wright Penn
  Kevin Spacey
  Chazz Palminteri
  Meg Ryan
  Garry Shandling

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