out of 4
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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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