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Permanent Midnight

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Permanent Midnight

Starring: Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley
Director: David Veloz
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: September 1998
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Janeane Garofalo, Connie Nielsen

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Dustin Putman review follows movie reviewmovie review
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5.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie review
6.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Dustin Putman
2 stars out of 4

"Permanent Midnight," is based on a true story about television screenwriter Jerry Stahl (Ben Stiller), who battled with his extreme heroin addiction throughout the 1970's and 80's. Told in flashback to a one night fling (Maria Bello) after he has been sober for 50 days, he talks about how the drugs pretty much destroyed him, as well as the relationship with his British wife (Elizabeth Hurley), whom he married so she would be able to get a green card.

"Permanent Midnight," is a none-too-special drama that tells a story about drugs that has been done countless times before, and better. Although the sequences of the drug taking are occasionally quite graphic and realistic, that is the whole movie. There is no attempt to develop any of the other characters, and his relationship with Hurley doesn't even seem fully written. We also learn next to nothing about Stahl's career, so the film isn't even good for learning about him.

Ben Stiller cannot be faulted, however. He gives a brave, first-rate performance, and Maria Bello also is charismatic. Janeane Garofalo may very well be the highlight of the film, however, even though she is only in two scenes. There is something about her that I always love, and she brings something special or funny to every role she takes on.

"Permanent Midnight," is a film filled with good performances, but very little else. It's okay to tell a story about drugs, but the filmmakers probably should have realized that constant sequences of drug taking, one after the other, does not a good film make.

Copyright 1998 Dustin Putman

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