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Film

Weirdsville

Josh Bell

Weirdsville

**

Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning

Directed by Allan Moyle

Rated R

Opens Friday

An awkward cross between Requiem for a Dream and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Weirdsville never achieves the balance it needs to work either as a dark portrait of petty crime and drug addiction or as a goofy, ramshackle stoner comedy. Speedman and Bentley play burnout best friends Dexter and Royce with the affable chemistry of Wayne and Garth or Bill and Ted, but almost from the start the movie puts them in situations that are serious bummers, starting with the overdose and apparent death of their friend Matilda (Manning), a fellow junkie also known to turn a few tricks.

Matilda turns out to be only slightly dead, but Dexter and Royce’s efforts to cover up her overdose and pay off a debt to a local drug dealer lead to a long night of twists and turns involving a group of Satanists, a stolen safe, little people in medieval garb, a comatose man with an icicle through his head and plenty of drugs. It all sounds wacky and sufficiently amusing, but writer Willem Wennekers throws elements around haphazardly, and he and director Moyle switch tones so frequently that it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cringe. The Satanists, for example, are clearly ridiculous nutcases ... until they actually kill a guy, and then they’re more menacing than funny. The hyperactive cuts and hallucinatory montages that Moyle uses suggest a dark and serious look at the perils of drug addiction, but the plot and dialogue only back him up sporadically.

The movie thus ends up at odds with itself, neither as funny nor as serious as it ought to be, just lurching from one absurd plot point to another until passing out, exhausted, like one of its overextended characters.

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