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Igby Goes Down Review

By Shawn McKenzie 09/17/2002

There are times when quirkiness is fun in a movie, such as in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Then there are times when quirkiness is confusing and annoying, such as in Igby Goes Down.

Igby Goes Down is the story of Jason "Igby" Slocumb, Jr. (Kieran Culkin.) Heís a spoiled rich kid who canít stay out of trouble. His parents are a little odd. His mother, Mimi (Susan Sarandon), seems to be always on the edge of dying, and is constantly medicating herself. His father, Jason (Bill Pullman), is a schizophrenic who gets angry over confusing things. His older brother, Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is a straight-laced Republican who does everything right and follows all of their motherís wishes. Igby is kicked out of the schools that his mother sends him to constantly. On the way to his latest school, he escapes the limousine he is riding in and starts living in an apartment occupied by the girlfriend of his Godfather, D.H. Baines (Jeff Goldblum.) The girlfriend, Rachael (Amanda Peet), agrees to let him live there, as long as he isnít there when D.H. shows up. One of Rachaelís friends also occupying the apartment, named Russel (Jared Harris), is a performance artist who deals drugs on the side. One day Igby meets a girl named Sookie (Claire Danes) at a party thrown by D.H. at his beach home in the Hamptons. They form a bond that seems to alternate between just friendship and a sexual relationship. Igby deals with all of these odd characters in a dismissive attitude. He only seems to actually care about them when he either loses them or is about to lose them.

Normally I do a little research on a movie before I go see it, especially on an independent movie that I know little about, but I didnít do that this time around. I really donít think it would have mattered, because I think I still would have been lost watching this movie. Although the movie did make me laugh, I was confused several times by what was going on. Many times I didnít understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. Maybe Iím not a rebel at heart.

Aside from the few laughs, I can give kudos to the performances. Everyone in the movie did an excellent job, even if I couldnít always follow what they were doing. Kieran has proven that he is the most talented of the Culkin brothers. He brings an intensity to his role that could have been hard for a couple of his brothers to pull off (by the way, his brother Rory is also in the movie as the younger Igby in flashback scenes.) Goldblum finally gets a chance to play a scumbag, and does a great job doing so. Though seen mainly in the flashbacks, Pullman made me believe he was a total schizophrenic. Iím also happy to see Phillippe not going down the Freddie Prinze, Jr. road and is actually doing challenging roles instead of pretty-boy roles.

Normally Iím a fan of independent comedies. I loved The Good Girl this year and one of my favorite movies last year was Ghost World. In the case of Igby Goes Down, I just couldnít get into it. It might be that I just couldnít follow the plot, or that it was too quirky, but I just wasnít too crazy about the flick. Maybe you will have better luck.

Ratings System:

SEE THIS MOVIE!

Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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