In the ’70s, New Hollywood directors made bad movies because of drugs. These days, New Indie directors make bad movies about drugs. Not that Spun, Jonas Akerlund’s speed-freak romp, is bad in a painful sort of way. For those who can relate to its bombastically stylized vision of bottoming out, this scabrous black comedy is sort of amusing—part Requiem for a Dream, part Road Runner cartoon, and part homage to amateurish CBGB’s-scene auteur Amos Poe. (Debbie Harry even makes a cameo appearance to clinch the connection.) Protagonist Ross (Jason Schwartzman) is the link between the principal characters: paranoid dealer Spider Mike (John Leguizamo) and his seriously ravaged mate, Cookie (Mena Suvari); methamphetamine chemist the Cook (Mickey Rourke) and his stripper girlfriend, Nikki (Brittany Murphy); and psychically and facially scarred crank and video-game nut Frisbee (Almost Famous’ Patrick Fugit). In exchange for drugs, Ross becomes the Cook’s chauffeur, driving him around drab suburban L.A. in search of chemicals and porn, and ferrying Nikki to the vet when her dog turns green from overexposure to the couple’s chemistry project. Meanwhile, Ross makes repeated calls to his nondruggie ex, delusionally thinking he can win her back. He’s also inclined toward animated sex fantasies, including one worthy of Talk to Her, and he leaves sometime sex partner April (Chloe Hunter) bound to his motel-room bed for several days. This MPAA-unrated flick means to get in your face, but only some of the time: We see the constipated Cookie straining on the toilet, complete with a zoom down the drain when she flushes, yet April remains restrained for several days without wetting the bed. Though the lesser-known actors appear fully nude, Murphy’s Nikki dances at a strip club where the dancers don’t actually strip. And in one scene in which Leguizamo’s Spider Mike ought to be naked, he instead wears a strategically placed sock. Despite plenty of flash, attitude, and outrageous asides—including a Cops parody, Eric Roberts in a absurd gay-drug-lord bit, and a brief appearance by soundtrack composer Billy Corgan sporting a blond wig—Spun stops only halfway to full wallow. —Mark Jenkins

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