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Starring: Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Meg Ryan, Chazz Palminteri, Garry Shandling.

Directed by: Anthony Drazen
Written by: David Rabe
Rated: R
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Fine Line Features is proving to be quite a little powerhouse of independent/large name films. Hurlyburly, follows through with their theme of, "Not for the masses, but look who we got to star in it anyway!" films.

Hurlyburly was an Off-Broadway sensation in the eighties. Though edited down slightly for the screen, it is still a voyeurs dream; spying on what real nasty little boys get up to late at night with a little freedom, some weed, and a coupla grams. It's a kind of at home with Swimming with Sharks (another Spacey delight) but there are four Buddy Akerman’s and we get to spend a couple of years with them. They are not nice, but don't seem to care.

The conversations are fabulous—and endless. Remember how extroverted and insightful you got when you were riding that "white train" of thought? Cocaine can make you so concerned about the secrets of the universe and unraveling the mysteries of life, when in reality you could barely tie your shoes you were so high? Oh, those nights of endless circuitous yammering, when you thought you absolutely could teach Einstein a thing or two. I have heard tell.

Sean Penn is astoundingly believable. Penn plays Eddie a motor-mouthed, self-absorbed, sinisterly mustachioed, wretched soul casting agent who fears he can’t feel love. Sad really.

But, writer David Rabe keeps him just gross enough so you really can't feel bad for him. If this was Sandra Bullock, the audience would have been crying every other scene "poor kid" and "that’s awful" and such. Eddie even while oozing his soul, is thinking about oral sex. Pay close attention to his verbal diarrhea as it is quite funny and often riddled with borderline intellect—well, cocaine style intellect—fast and frenzied (I clocked his jaw doin’ 90 mph).

Kevin "Does this haircut make my face look big?" Spacey is Eddie’s sauve "best friend" and business partner, Mickey.

Mick's quite a piece of work. One eye perpetually roaming the tundra for his next sexual conquest, the other plays nurse maid to dear Eddie ,who has almost a spouse-like attachment to him. The character of Mickey scared me. As rude and crass as he was in private—he was equally as sexual and jumpable in public (note to self: beware of smooth talking well dressed Spacey-like real— I'd do him in a nanosecond).

Chazz Palminteri is Phil. Phil's a violent, delusional loser dude. We all know him. A dreamer without a clue. A man with nothing really to say. Eddie keeps him around to feel superior in his little fishbowl life. Chazz is another exceptional actor. Rent anything with his name—you'll like it. (Okay maybe not that hideous Sly Stallone 'comedy' about the mob...can't think of the name. Forgive Chazz. He really is tremendously talented) He positively shines in this!

Garry Shandling blew me away. His character, Arty, was so Hollywood. Calm and slithering. Clueless to his immoral ways. Shandling is a natural. He really held his own with Penn in a particularly great confrontation through a glass table. Kudos to cinematographer Changwei Gu for nailing this scene's integrity. I really hope to see more of the '"serious actor" Garry Shandling.

Robin "Chickbabe Squared" Wright Penn as Darlene, was perfectly authentic as Eddie's main squeeze and conquest of Mickey. Ok, she sleeps with Eddie and Mickey; but if Mickey looked like Spacey, who could resist? Who I ask ya? And besides, it’s Hollywood. ‘Nough said?

Meg - great hair- Ryan finally sheds her Miss Nicey Nice demeanor. Don't expect the usual apple pie performance here. She's a "friend" of Eddies who comin’ by to play wit da boys...literally.

Anna Paquin is a scene stealer. Wow! She was awesome as a runaway without the chance of even getting a menial job. You quickly adjust to the fact she's just a lost soul and Artie (Shandling) the peddling pedophile, who wants her to walk his dogs, seems like an odd savior.

Hurlyburly is a lot of fun. No huge plot, just a chance to see one of the finest conversational films ever made, performed by a few of the finest actors in Hollywood. True HB would not have been so intriguing if it were not for these stellar people. But lucky for all of us IT WAS.

Snack recommendation: Week-old Hostess Sno-balls, curlded milk, moldy oranges.




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