*/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B
starring Val Kilmer, Lisa Kudrow, Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott
screenplay by James Cox & Captain Mauzner and Todd Samovitz & D. Loriston Scott
directed by James Cox
by Walter Chaw A collision of vérité with the sort of Requiem for a Dream grind-cut quick-edits that have produced some of the worst films of the last couple of years (case in point: Spun), Wonderland sets out to tell the true story of 1981's Wonderland Murders, which left four scumbags dead and porn king John Holmes--King Scumbag, as it were--implicated in the lead pipe nastiness. It's a regurgitation in so many ways of so many things: neo-Boogie Nights, neo-noir, neo-Val Kilmer's own strung-out performance in the superior The Salton Sea--and therein lies the problem, as Kilmer is altogether too likeable an anti-hero, typecast as the strung-out simpleton too good-looking to be at the bottom, too drunk on himself to be anywhere else. A section where the passage of time is represented by a montage of TV GUIDE listings provides the only spark in the midst of this spastic spectacle, demonstrating a knowledge of its cathode tube parentage as cannily as the use of Duran Duran's "Girls on Film" tune that defined the MTV-made hit, dancing on the edge of art and porn. It happens early, it raises hopes, and then Wonderland runs itself well past the point of caring.