Based on Benjamin Stein’s book Ludes, well-wrought screenplay is a cautionary tale about a couple involved in a mutually destructive, coke-dominated lifestyle.
Young and very much in love, Lenny and Linda Brown (James Woods and Sean Young) are still struggling to make ends meet in New York City when Lenny, a born hustler with financial smarts, receives an extraordinary opportunity from businessman Steven Hill to make his fortune by moving to Los Angeles and selling tax shelters.
His expanding balloon is popped by word that Congress proposed to close the tax loopholes through which he and his clients are benefiting. Lenny suddenly finds himself deep in the hole financially, as well as hooked on the cocaine he started taking only as a ‘boost’ to get him through rough times.
For the film to work at all, the love story between Lenny and Linda must feel as overpowering as it is meant to, and Woods and Young put this over with miles to spare. Both actors are live wires, so the passion, care and commitment the characters have for one another is palpable at all times.