Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Richard Linklater is one of the best filmmakers of his generation, and if anyone is equipped to make the definitive Generation Angst movie, it's him. The problem: He already has. It was called Slacker, and it came out a few years ago. This adaptation of Eric Bogosian's 1994 play—which revolves around several post-high-school drifters hanging around a convenience store while awaiting the return of their rock-star classmate—doesn't hold up to Linklater's previous work, and the problem is Bogosian's script. Like Spike Lee's Get On The Bus, subUrbia has a director working with outside material that's inferior to his self-penned scripts. None of Linklater's previous movies have been as heavy-handed and self-consciously symbolic (or unbelievable) as this one: While the desolate suburban environment is well-realized, characters are drawn from every portion of the stereotypical twentysomething spectrum: riot grrrl, berzerker misfit, rehab burnout. Especially annoying is a former football hero who alternates between being a feral racist in one scene and a character capable of great insight in the next. Not without its bright patches—Bogosian is a talented writer who's out of his element here—subUrbia is a disappointment considering those involved.

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