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Homegrown Reviews

Fear and loathing out at the dope depot follow the murder of a millionaire reefer entrepreneur, who leaves behind not only a whole lotta marijuana, but also a distribution void crying out to be filled. The birds are singing, the sun is shining and the pot plants are swaying in the breeze: Jack (Billy Bob Thornton), Carter (Hank Azaria) and Harlan (Ryan Philippe) -- farm hands on big boss Malcolm's (John Lithgow) formidable pot plantation -- are this close to heaven. That changes in an instant when they witness Malcolm's murder: Should they flee and leave the dope to rot, or should they harvest the crop and try to cover up Malcolm's death until they can get it processed and sold? They opt for the latter, turn to Malcolm's longtime associate Lucy (Kelly Lynch) for help, and set in motion a series of betrayals and double-crosses that they're never quite on top of. For all the pot onscreen, this isn't a dope comedy: It's an edgy, well-acted and often surprising character piece that crackles with sharply observed shifts in the complicated web of relationships that connect Jack, Carter, Lucy and Harlan to one another and to the larger dope-dealing community of the Pacific Northwest. The movie rests on the four main performances, and everyone comes through brilliantly. Hank Azaria is almost unrecognizable as the amiable but high-strung Carter. Thornton makes the most of the role of Jack, who begins to assume Malcolm's persona as they perpetuate the deception that he's alive. Jon Bon Jovi and Jamie Lee Curtis turn in showy cameos as a slick dealer and a latter-day Earth mother, and Lithgow comes full circle with the role of Malcolm, having made his movie debut as a dope-buying, Ivy League flunky in DEALING: OR THE BOSTON-TO-BERKELEY FORTY-BRICK LOST-BAG BLUES.