Film

Ummm... Where's the Big Penis?

Wonderland is Under-wonder-whelming

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Wonderland

dir. Cox

Opens Fri Oct 17

Various Theaters

Some people may say, "It's unfair to judge '70s porn star John Holmes solely on the size of his dick. He was a person, too!" But franklyÉ I don't give a crap. If you're making a movie featuring John Holmes, you better give me a least one sneaky-peek at his dick--otherwiseÉ why am I giving you my money? And while Marky Mark's big rubber dong was flashed in the Holmes-inspired Boogie Nights, in the new film Wonderland there's nary a huge dick in sight--unless of course you're counting Val Kilmer.

Though John Holmes plays a major part in the film, Wonderland has disappointingly nothing to do with the porn industry. Instead, it focuses on the true story of a grisly mass murder that took place in the summer of 1981, and the hopped-up coke fiends who made it happen. Holmes (played by the increasingly long-in-the-tooth Val Kilmer) is at the end of his porn career, and winds up with a gang of druggies looking for their next big score. They find it thanks to Holmes' involvement with an L.A. nightclub owner (Eric Bogosian), who has a big stash of coke, guns, and dough lying about the mansion. After the score goes down, however, Bogosian's character sends out his thugs to impart his revenge--hence, the four gruesomely mutilated corpses. However, the question remains; did Holmes have a hand in the murders?

Wonderland is told in the Rashomon style of filmmaking; imparting the story through the perspectives of several different characters. And though cliché, the style works; because, other than its grisly aspects and celebrity (Holmes) pedigree, the story itself isn't very interesting. Unfortunately, director James Cox ladles on too much gravy: the herky-jerky "Woo, I'm on drugs!" cinematography made popular in Trainspotting. Adding excess style to cover up a weak script is pure junior varsity.

Kilmer and the cast obviously love playing these drugged-up losers, but it's largely a masturbatory affair. In the end, Wonderland lacks the kick of sweet cocaine and the heft of Holmes' monumental wiener. And while we're on the topicÉ would it have killed them to give us one peek?

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