Posted: 01/20/2008


Jimmy and Judy


by Jef Burnham

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Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, Detroit Rock City) and Rachel Bella (The Ring) star as the title characters in what shapes up to be a teenage version of Falling Down, but ends up being a standard, angsty teenagers with guns movie. Jimmy and Judy is most notable for having won the Best Feature Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The film is shot by its two stars (similar to the later sequences of Natural Born Killers, which is its undeniable predecessor). As such, the film taps into the American obsession with reality TV and talentless, first-person cinematography, and yet the film mysteriously required two directors (Randall Rubin and Jon Schroder). The prime example of the pitfalls of using such a technique can be observed in the scene during which Jimmy commits his first murder, when the camera is left rolling on the floorboard of a car. This leaves the audience with nothing to look at for at least three to five minutes, making the scene totally ineffective, as the viewer has long since lost interest in staring at Judy’s motionless feet. Such unfocused cinematography, coupled with the writers/directors’ need to use bizarre sex acts, rape, drugs, and violence to achieve the film’s desired sense of hopelessness, there is a lack of any unique vision. They even condescend to show a conversation between Jimmy and Judy about their desire to capture the American Dream (here, a white picket fence, a big house and a baby), the belief in which is one of the first things such disillusioned teens would lose.

On a positive note, Jimmy’s obsession with filming the important moments of his life is actually a clever means by which to capture the feeling of so many teenagers that they must be famous to be somebody. Also effective is the film’s depiction of the excessiveness of teen bullying and how it goes unnoticed, which provides a realistic explanation for Jimmy and Judy’s eventual turn to violence. Persistent bullying is, of course, one of the main reasons for school violence, including shootings. The only people surprised by it are those who turn a blind eye to the bullying in the first place. Though the film may be exceedingly flawed, it is admirable of the filmmakers to recognize this fact of teenage existence and utilize it to their advantage.

Aside from these few bits of positivity, the rest of the film is cliché. Jimmy eventually goes bald (just like Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers); they do a lot of drugs; encounter a drug-crazed prophet of doom named Uncle Rodney (played by William Sadler, a great character actor), who is the uncrowned king of “The Garbage People”; and Jimmy and Judy even have their wedding presided over by an Elvis impersonator.

Jef Burnham is a freelance writer and film critic in Chicago.

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