Slc Punk!

on April 16, 1999 by Christine James
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The most extreme oppression begets the most extreme defiance -- hence the transformation of Stevo (Matthew Lillard) from a Dungeons & Dragons geek into a hardcore, blue-haired, redneck-whupping punk in the unlikely setting of Mormon-colonized Utah. Stevo is an academic genius, but aspires instead to "get a 4.0 in damage!" Despite his best efforts to subvert the system, he graduates at the top of his class, and now is left wondering what to do with his life as it becomes increasingly apparent that his anarchistic ways aren't going to change Salt Lake City, much less the world.

There are many laugh-out-loud moments in "SLC Punk!," such as Til Schweiger's bragging monologue about his numerous possessions; Stevo's mooning of some Bible-quoting convenience store patrons, revealing the Number of the Beast on one buttock; and the deadpan reaction of a fast-food clerk (Tracy Pfau) who queries, with a mixture of mild curiosity and utter apathy, "Is he gonna be okay?" when Stevo's best friend Bob (Michael Goorjian) dramatically collapses after an untreated festering wound gets the better of him, resulting in an infection never before encountered by medical science (at the hospital, Bob proudly declares, "They named a disease after me!"). The colorful cast of characters, conversations with the camera and digressions using bizarre visuals and flashbacks that wantonly break through the fourth wall are fun, but for a film about the spirit of rebellion, there's little actual conflict, at least of the thematic sort, and ultimately the film proves as meandering and uncertain as Stevo's ambition. Fortunately, it also shares its protagonist's boundless energy and amusingly twisted sense of humor. Starring Matthew Lillard, Michael Goorjian, Til Schweiger, Devon Sawa and Annabeth Gish. Directed and written by James Merendino. Produced by Sam Maydew and Peter Ward. An SPC release. Comedy. Rated R for pervasive language, drug use, violent antisocial behavior and some sexuality. Running time: 95 min

Tags: Matthew Lillard, Michael Goorjian, Til Schweiger, Devon Sawa, Annabeth Gish. Directed and written by James Merendino. Produced by Sam Maydew and Peter Ward. An SPC release. Comedy
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