Hip acting talent has flocked to James Cox's drama about the gruesome 1981 murders on Wonderland Avenue in LA's Laurel Canyon, a bloodbath that involved porn legend John Holmes (Val Kilmer). After using Holmes to rip off a ruthless nightclub kingpin (Eric Bogosian), some hard-partying thugs and their women (Josh Lucas, Tim Blake Nelson, Janeane Garofalo, and Natasha Gregson Wagner) are paid back with lead pipe in the dead of night. Homicide detectives hear contrary versions of events from Holmes and a survivor of the gang (Dylan McDermott), but only Holmes's wife (Lisa Kudrow in a fine performance) knows what her husband really did. Cox and three others have produced a swift and economical script, but it's just porn with a different money shot—not graphic violence per se but the sort of blood-soaked crime scene that sells true-crime paperbacks. 104 min.
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