SPUN (Unrated, 96 minutes)
The stylish but empty feature debut from music video director Jonas Akerlund is being released without a rating, but it might as well be NC-35 for "No codgers over 35 admitted without the company of a 17-year-old." Viewers of advanced age may feel the desperate need for someone young to explain why this movie is "cool" -- or at least perform CPR on them when they go into cardiac arrest from all the speed, sex and MTV-ready camera tricks, including about 100 too many close-ups of dead flies, spit-soaked chewing gum and retinas contracting whenever someone snorts up (which is often). Old coots otherwise better have substantial hipster cred of their own to get all the sly references and cameos in this essentially plotless tale of the misadventures of a crystal meth freak named Ross (Jason Schwartzman) as he chauffeurs his supplier, a greasy cowboy referred to as the "Cook" (Mickey Rourke), and the Cook's girlfriend (Brittany Murphy) aimlessly around the north Los Angeles Valley. Yes, you read that right. Puffy has-been Rourke attempts a comeback in a potty-mouth performance so ironic it might as well have quote marks around it. In addition to caricatured performances by John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari and Patrick Fugit as drug-addled losers, there are also plenty of walk-ons to test one's pop-culture IQ: Deborah Harry as Ross's lesbian landlord; Rob Halford as a porn-shop clerk; Eric Roberts as a gay sugar daddy; Billy Corgan and Larry Drake ("L.A. Law's" Benny!) as doctors; and Ron Jeremy as a strip-club bartender. Unlike Doug Liman's 1999 "Go," a far superior film that covered much of the same drug-strewn ground, "Spun" mistakes flash for cleverness, and its undeniable eye-appeal for something that might actually engage the brain or the heart. The title (which translates, essentially, as "burned out") is an apt description of the film itself: a hot and smoldering shell. Contains constant obscenity, fairly graphic sex scenes, frank sex talk, pervasive drug use, scenes of physical violence and, oh yes, nudity -- including a scene of John Leguizamo wearing nothing but a sock (and not on his foot). At the Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle 5.
-- Michael O'Sullivan