Though it's vile, misanthropic and literally nausea-inducing, Jimmy and Judy still possesses a certain sort of awful fascination; you simply can't help but wonder how much worse it can get. The movie starts as merely seedy and unpleasant but then careens headlong into chaos, fueled by the same sort of inane suburban teen angst you can buy off the rack at Hot Topic.
Pampered, manic-depressive loser Jimmy (Edward Furlong) is so detached from his parents, school and the world in general that he obsessively videotapes everything as if his life is just a movie he happens to be making. So everything we see is via Jimmy's shaky camcorder shots.
Seemingly normal teen Judy (Rachel Bella) falls for this sociopath because she mistakes him for a deep thinker, because he's a bad boy, and because he takes swift and nasty revenge on her high school tormentors. In between his frequent stays in "the bin," the two love doves fuck like bunnies, while cultivating a "fuck everything" posture that can only spell disaster when they start to mix hormones and homicide. When a car accident starts a deadly cycle, it's their excuse to run away and make their own bizarre little universe of sex, violence and fast food.
Jimmy and Judy has the same squirmy energy of a movie like Larry Clark's Bully, and though its intensity is sometimes compelling, it makes it an ordeal to sit through. The shaky first-person visuals seem more like amateur porn than any sort of legitimate cinema, and the style grows tiresome before it actually starts to make you sick. First-time writer-directors Randall Rubin and Jon Schroder know how to build tension and keep the shocks coming, but they fail to make any of it matter, since they can't tell iconoclasts from idiots. As Jimmy, Edward Furlong is baby-faced no more, looking pudgy, bloated and every bit of 30, making it even creepier for him to be playing a high schooler dragging a nubile naïf into his crank- and violence-riddled wreck of a life. Bella does a credible job as a co-dependent sexpot, fully committed whether she's naked or crying (or both), but there's only so much an actor can do with a lousy script. The "heroes" aren't interesting or tragic, or even sympathetic, just shallow, rotten little shits, and it's sort of a relief when doom finally catches up with them.
There is a rich tradition of classic crime-spree romances, but this is a long way from Badlands or Bonnie & Clyde, and this movie has a good deal less of value to say about anything. By the time creepy character actor William Sadler shows up as evil drug farm guru "Uncle Rodney," delivering a rambling monologue about how true counterculture has been replaced by "garbage culture," you'll be all too inclined to believe him, and the proof is right there on the screen.
Showing at the Birmingham 8 (211 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-644-3456).
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]etrotimes.com.