Hurlyburly - C
Viewed January 9, 1999 at Sony Lincoln Square

Hurlyburly is a boring, vacuous movie about boring, vacuous people. Adapted from a play by David Rabe, Hurlyburly bears its theatrical origins proudly. It's wildly wordy, and it serves as an oppurtunity for its cast to indulge in the most grating of actorly tics. Sean Penn, as Edddie, a producer type, turns in an awful performance -- with his mouth running at 5000 rpm, he snorts coke, shouts constantly, and generally flails around the set. Hell, he even masturbates on screen. But he can't disguise how empty and dull a person Eddie is -- he's a shell of self-pity. The only actor who emerges from the muck is Kevin Spacey, who establishes the casual amorality and glibness of Eddie's producing partner and roommate in less time than it takes Penn to go through one of his many, many ranting monologues. Anthony Drazan's direction is unremarkable, and the screenplay by Rabe suffers from some serious idiocies and borderline misogynism. The reappearance of Anna Paquin's character in the film's final act (to impart less-than-deep philosophical insights) after having left the movie in the first 30 minutes is particularly irritating. If Hurlyburly has much value, it's as an anti-drug film : who in their right minds would want to become the emotional wrecks on display here?