Permanent Midnight (1998)

(On VHS, December 2001) It’s not a very nice to say that someone hasn’t suffered enough to impress us. After watching this fictionalized biography of writer Jerry Stahl’s drug addiction, though, it’s not as if we feel too sorry for the guy. He was a Hollywood writer, he had a beautiful wife, he was good at his job, he had a lot of fun… but, oh, he did drugs. Oooh. The film mostly plays as a dark comedy, not as a heart-wrenching portrait of an addict. (Let’s throw ourselves at the windows! Whee!) Ben Stiller is fine in the lead role, as usual. (Though when Maria Bello announces that she’s leaving for Alaska to manage a bar, I couldn’t resist shouting at the screen “…and I’ll call it Coyote Ugly!”) Not a bad movie -it will hold your interest-, but not a spectacular one either. The epilogue (in which the narrator criticizes those who trivialize his plight) is probably apt for this review.

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