Picks and Pans Review: Wonderland

UPDATED 10/13/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/13/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Lisa Kudrow
DRAMA

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John Holmes (Kilmer) was a leading porn star whose popularity owed much to an impressive anatomical gift. After his screen career waned, he drifted downward into drugs and in 1981 was arrested for involvement in the murders of four people in a drug dealer's home on Wonderland Avenue in L.A. (Holmes, who was acquitted of the crimes, died of AIDS in 1988.)

In telling Holmes's story from both his viewpoint and those of his teenage girlfriend (Bosworth), his estranged wife (Kudrow) and various cops and criminals, director and cowriter James Cox has made a garish film that plays like a poor man's Boogie Nights. Only when Kudrow appears does the film briefly seem more than a flashy filmmaking exercise. Stripped of makeup, the Friends star movingly plays a sour but wiser woman who knows that Holmes is bad news. A tremulous Bosworth (Blue Crush) shows promise, but Kilmer did his frantic drug-addict thing better in last year's superior The Salton Sea. (R)

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