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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