Review written by: Alex Sandell

Garry Shandling (Artie) leaves
cable and "Larry Sanders"
behind for what is hopefully a
successful movie career.

What's the story?

Eddie (Sean Penn) and the rest of his hyper-verbal gang of strung-out, self-involved pals discuss love, integrity, settling-down and other concepts that they don't understand.

So how is it? (Get to the point, already)

Imagine Quentin Tarantino without the guns. Then imagine Quentin had more than just Madonna songs, Burger King, and the value of a foot massage to talk about (not that there's anything wrong with eating a Whopper while having your feet rubbed). Then imagine a whole bunch of people doing lots of drugs and talking about these "other" aspects of life. This is a surface description of "Hurlyburly".

If you're paying attention, you may also notice the deep, nearly unconditional friendship between Phil (Chazz Palminteri, in his best perfomance to date) and his best friend Eddie. The longing to fit in at all costs attitude of Artie (Garry Shandling). The smug, cynical front put on by Mickey (Kevin Spacey, who somehow, for the first time ever, just doesn't seem to be up to the role) to cover up any true feelings he may have about the wife and kids he's taking a "break" from. The indecisiveness of Darlene (Robin Wright Penn) and her inability to commit herself to anything, including one man. The weird sort of way two minor characters, Donna (Anna Paquin) and Bonnie (Meg Ryan), an underage runaway and a middle-aged stripper, help Eddie reevaluate his life. Finally, you'll wonder how director Anthony Drazan and screenwriter David Rabe ended up twisting all of this into a comedy.

It's amazing what you'll find if you're willing to look below the surface.

What does it make you feel like eating?

Meg Ryan in a wonder-bra.

What are you selling us here???

There was a big "Paramount" logo on a water-tower during a funeral scene, but I think this was meant to be an ironic sort of "joke", not a studio endorsement.

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"The movie that never shuts up" - Hurlyburly

On a scale of 1-10?


Agree? Disagree? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com

Text (Copyright) 1998 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, or even copy the "juicy" format, we'll be in court longer than Bill Clinton!

The Juicy Cerebellum