Spun tries to shock: a cartoon vagina sucks in Jason Schwartzman, John Leguizamo masturbates into a sock, Mena Suvari has - - Hollywood horror - - really dirty teeth. But the only surprising element in this overlong music video is that anyone should think its self-conscious, pseudo-transgressive depiction of drug-fuelled degradation is either interesting or perceptive.
The opening credits send the smug-siren squealing, with the caption "'Based on truth'. And lies" pointing to the clever-clever tone of this patronising pic. Zipping through a blizzard of camera gimmickry and bludgeoning edits, pop-promo director Jonas Akerlund proceeds to show off 'til the end credits mercifully roll. You may be concussed but you won't be enlightened.
Looking to score speed from his penny-ante dealer (Leguizamo), puppy-faced dropout Ross (Schwartzman) ends up errand boy for hard-headed methamphetamine-maker The Cook (Mickey Rourke), whose garrulous floozy of a girlfriend (Brittany Murphy) is a dangerous flirt. During three bleached California days and sleepless nights, we suffer a spaced odyssey, as anecdotes of druggie japery are strung together into a ramshackle non-narrative.
Rourke is excellent as the edgy entrepreneur, but he's the only actor here who can guess at the battering drug use can give you. Everyone else is slyly slumming it, winking at the camera as they play druggie dress-up: looking down on the people they're supposed to be portraying.
Where Requiem For A Dream had soul, this has a hole. And hyperactive visuals can't make it any less insincere. It may succeed in saying DRUGS ARE, LIKE, A BAD THING, but it's a pyrrhic victory: style over substance abuse.