“Natural Born Killers” and “The Blair Witch Project” — perhaps the single most over-imitated movies in Amerindie cinema’s last dozen years — are thumped like salt shakers for any remaining particles of originality by “Jimmy and Judy.” Billed as “a twisted, f’d up, teenage love story” (which should already tell you it’s trying too hard), this strenuous attempt at shock value and vague social commentary puts a quasi-rebellious young couple on the highway to hell, or at least heck. Surprise! They have a video camera, relentlessly de-ployed in mockumentary style. Prospects, like onscreen results, look tepid.
Bullied for no obvious reason at high school, Judy (Rachael Bella) is at first unimpressed by recently de-institutionalized fellow rich-suburban offspring Jimmy (Edward Furlong). But once he wreaks vengeance on her tormentors, she begins pronouncing him a “genius,” a judgment the script does very little to bear out, despite Furlong’s livelier-than-usual perf. When he accidentally kills a cop, they go on the lam, eventually winding up at the commune led by Manson-like Uncle Rodney (William Sadler) where their luck really runs out.
Seventeen-ish Judy and twentysomething Jimmy (a waist-expanded Furlong now definitely looks his 30 years) just want to fuck, get fucked up and say “fuck” a lot. Yet the movie actually seems to view these rebels-without-a-clue as bold nonconformists. But if they’re rejecting their parents’ empty materialism, then a lifestyle of fast food, motel rooms and gas consumption doesn’t seem exactly a slap to the capitalist grid. And the movie’s juvenile sarcasm shoots itself in the foot.
For all their surface bluster, debuting co-writers/directors Jon Schroder and Randall K. Rubin are trading in reflexive sulky adolescent philosophy: Older people are gross, popular peers are stupid, but we are cool because we don’t buy their BS! Of course, what Jimmy and Judy do value, or even represent, is left blank.
At this late date, with the p.o.v. of vidcam-wielding protagonists having been done to motion-sickness death, letting the camera “drop” to focus on a character’s foot while key violent action happens off-screen doesn’t heighten the scene’s realism — it just makes the filmmaking seem lazy and the viewing more tiresome.
Within the pic’s caricatured boundaries, perfs are OK, tech aspects as ordered. A 35mm print is in the works. For the record, pic won the Staff Award for best feature at the San Francisco IndieFest, and could conceivably develop a home-rental following among auds who share the titular figures’ age and maturity level.