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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 Dustin Putman
2½ stars out of 4

"Hurlyburly" is an actors' dream, but there is a nearly non-existent storyline. Set "a little while ago" in Los Angeles, Eddie (Sean Penn) is a casting director who lives in a high-profile home in the Hollywood hills with his cold business partner, Mickey (Kevin Spacey), and a nasty-tempered struggling actor, Phil (Chazz Palminteri). The film follows them through a year in their life, centering on Eddie, who slowly begins to realize that a life full of nothing but drugs, sex, and partying is an empty life, indeed. Overly talky, no doubt due to the fact that it is based on a stage play, but just when I was about to give up on the mostly dispicable characters in the second half, the gentle, touching ending snuck up and left me emotionally shaken. Sean Penn has never been better than he is here, and that's saying quite a lot, while Anna Paquin (of 1993's "The Piano," for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at age 11), as a lost teenage wanderer, is remarkably refined, a character chamelion if I've ever seen one. Also of note is Meg Ryan, who sheds her "cutesy" image as a prostitute with a young daughter. Too bad more couldn't have happened in the plot department to equal up to the performances.

Copyright 1998 Dustin Putman

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