Similar in spirit to The Company of Men and Friends and Neighbors, this acerbic film based on a 1984 play by David Rabe revolves around three women-hating men who are stewing in the juices of anger, disappointment, and resentment. Eddie (Sean Penn) and Mickey (Kevin Spacey) are casting directors who live together in a house in the Hollywood Hills. When he's not strung out on drugs, Eddie tries to muster some concern for the plight of his friend Phil (Chazz Palminteri), an out-of-work actor who's been dumped by his wife. Mickey, a cool and amoral operator, rankles Eddie by having a brief fling with his steady Darlene (Robin Wright Penn).
Hurlyburly depicts hedonism as a grim exercise in cynicism, betrayal, and emptiness. The men here are selfish and misogynistic; the women are all just self-destructive playthings. Bonnie (Meg Ryan), an exotic dancer, is thrown out of a moving car by Phil. And Donna (Anna Paquin) is a drifter who pays for her lodging at Eddie and Mickey's with sexual favors. Anthony Drazan directs this male-bashing drama that contains far too many senseless speeches.