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Hurlyburly Reviews

There's a lot of very bad behavior going on in this adaptation of David Rabe's 1984 play, and a lot of very good, ferociously focused acting. But who wants to spend two hours with these creeps? Eddie and Mickey (Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey) are casting directors sharing a condo in the Hollywood Hills: Eddie's divorced, Mickey is "taking a break" from his marriage. Their best pals are womanizing Artie (Garry Shandling) and would-be actor Phil (Chazz Palminteri), whose explosive temper has poisoned his marriage. Cokehead Eddie is the conscience of the group (which means only that he feels guilty enough to make himself unhappy) and Phil is its raging id; Mickey and Artie are weasels who can talk their way out of anything. They're all types rather than fleshed-out characters, which would be fine if the movie weren't all about them: The only reason to invest a chunk of time in such unpleasant sorts is to get a glimpse at what makes them tick. The condo is the hub of their drug- and sex-driven universe, through which a parade of mostly unseen woman drift. The three we do meet are as stereotypical as the men: Darlene (Robin Penn Wright) is a bright but neurotic beauty who's with Eddie but once slept with Mickey. Bonnie (Meg Ryan) is a dim-bulb stripper who hooks on the side, and Donna (Anna Paquin) is an old-beyond-her-years drifter whom Artie finds in an elevator and brings by as a kind of "sexual care package" for his friends. A baby is born and someone dies; a relationship breaks up and a woman is assaulted, but mostly Rabe's scabrous portrait of Hollywood-fringe misogynists serves as a reminder that rappers aren't alone in treating all women as bitches and 'hos. That's not news in most quarters.