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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Hurlyburly

Starring: Sean Penn, Robin Wright
Director: Anthony Drazan
Rated: R
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: December 1998
Genre: Drama

Review by MrBrown
2 stars out of 4

The ensemble cast of Anthony Drazan's screen take on David Rabe's celebrated play is uniformly excellent, led by Sean Penn, who reprises his stage role as Eddie, a drugged-out Hollywood casting director headed quickly down the road of self-destruction. Filling out the very capable ensemble are Kevin Spacey, Meg Ryan, Chazz Palminteri, Robin Wright Penn, and the usually irksome Garry Shandling and Anna Paquin.

So what is the film _about_? Not much at all, by my evaluation. The trailer for _Hurlyburly_ defines the term as "tumultuous commotion, uproar," and it could not more aptly describe this high-strung but virtually plotless film. The movie is merely a collection of scenes where a bunch of frantic Tinseltown losers such as Eddie talk, talk, and talk some more, sometimes in English so overly complex that it's hard to tell if any of these people, let alone the audience, know what they're talking about. Keeping the audience at an even further distance is Drazan's stagy direction, which fails to sufficiently open the play up for the screen. But the film is not without its rewards, in particular the work of Penn, who makes Eddie's meltdown compelling, even though it is not particularly involving.

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