Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled London

Fueled by cocaine, booze, desperation, egotism, a powerful (though ephemeral) need for emotional connection, and an equally urgent need to hear themselves communicate, the self-destructive young party enthusiasts of London talk and talk and talk, pontificating endlessly about philosophy, God, and other weighty topics favored by people stoned out of their gourds. It's like college, but everyone's better-looking.

Fantastic Four's Chris Evans does much of the aforementioned gabbing as the film's grungy protagonist, a listless sad-sack moping about in a state of morbid inertia following his breakup with soulmate Jessica Biel. After scoring some blow from tormented businessman Jason Statham, Evans decides to crash Biel's going-away party, which mainly involves doing lots of coke and lots of talking in the soirée's bathroom.

London has a distinct Off-Off-Broadway feel. There's a stagebound quality to its handful of claustrophobic locations, its endless assault of intense coke talk, and its third-rate invocation of David Mamet, David Rabe, and Neil LaBute. Writer-director Hunter Richards doesn't seem to know whether he's making a poor man's Hurlyburly, an indie grunge-fest about a slacker's emotional downward spiral, or a slick romance dolled up in Urban Outfitters-style countercultural "attitude." Of the cast, only the droll Statham cuts through the thick navel-gazing aura, though even he can't make his character's big revelation seem anything other than ridiculous. As with its coke-and-narcissism-addled protagonist, London's pretensions far outstrip its dorm-level contemplation of life's big issues. In order for London to have its intended emotional resonance, Evans' romantic parting from Biel would have to register as legitimately tragic. But the breakup of two self-absorbed chatterboxes barely qualifies as unfortunate.