Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)

Writer/director Neil LaBute (IN THE COMPANY OF MEN) again skirts 
anything even *remotely* resembling political correctness in this 
despicably delightful tale of six people who, well, get screwed by 
each other.  Both literally and figuratively.  Though by turns too 
talky and not coherently believable, this pitch-black comedy offers 
a parade of superbly played scenes.  (They revolve around a sextet 
of nameless characters-- three best male friends, one's wife, one's 
girlfriend, and a third single female-- all of whom are disturbing-
ly real in their reckless quests for self-gratification.)  Of the 
smart ensemble cast, which includes Ben Stiller, Amy Brenneman, and 
a padded Aaron Eckart, it's Jason Patric (SPEED II) who walks away 
with the movie.  He plays an supremely self-confident seducer whose 
techniques border on the psychotic.  (His memorable moments include 
a jaw-dropping recollection of a rape and a later menstruation rant 
that's worth the price of admission.  But will Oscar dare notice?  
I doubt it.)  For all the acting kudos, the other critical compon-
ent is LaBute's skilled writing and direction.  (Love those pain-
fully long takes.)  Too bad the men aren't more closely aligned.  
While I can believe their character's friendship, Stiller, Eckart, 
and Patric still seem to have stepped out of separate movies.  Eh, 
maybe that's the point.  Needless to say, this one's rated "R" for 
language and precious little (if any) nudity.  (It'll make a dandy 
drinking game, though, when it comes out on cassette.  Suggested 
rules:  take a shot every time the F-word is said.  Take two shots 
every time the F-word is said during the F-act.)  With Catherine 
Keener and Nastassja Kinski.  And the sparse score is by Metallica, 
as performed by the cello-quartet Apocalyptica.  (Rated "R"/95 

Grade: B

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: September 3, 1998

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros