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COMEDY NOT FOUND WITHIN ZIP CODE OF 'WEIRDSVILLE'.

Byline: BOB STRAUSS

>FILM CRITIC

Ambitious Canadian indie stoner comedy (a phrase I never expect to see again in my lifetime) "Weirdsville" forget to bake in the laughs. It's all complications, alternately frantic or spaced out. Either way, comic timing goes up in smoke in the first five minutes and is never regained.

To make it quick: Buddies Dexter (Scott Speedman), who's recently gone straight, and still doped-out Royce (Wes Bentley) are in trouble with a local dealer in their grungy Ontario town when their call-gal pal Mattie (Taryn Manning) overdoses on some junk they've been fronted. Royce has the bright idea of burying her in the cellar of an old drive-in theater. But as often happens in these situations, some novice devil worshippers show up to perform a human sacrifice at the same isolated location just as Mattie, who isn't really dead, wakes up.

These activities are intricately entwined with a bunch of other plot threads, none of which are worth following. Then the little people who perform medieval battle re-enactments show up. I don't believe we're meant to think of them as hallucinations. But we are encouraged to consider them laughable, which is neither nice nor effective.

While scene after scene kind of fritters away into nothingness, director Allan Moyle (remember "Pump Up the Volume"? We've conditioned ourself not to) amazes us with a wide range of trippy effects: smash cuts, flashbacks, slo mo, step-printing. It is all very annoying.

Despite the odds against them, the three main actors are quite good at what they're asked to do. Their work here won't counter anyone's perceptions, though, that Speedman is kind of bland, Bentley exhausted what small stash of good will he had remaining from "American Beauty" long ago, and "Hustle and Flow" alum Manning should throttle back on the prostitute roles.

Moyle says he thinks drugs are fun, but that "Weirdsville" is ultimately an anti-drug movie. It certainly isn't fun, so I guess we can give him that.

Bob Strauss, (818) 713-3670

bob.strauss@dailynews.com

WEIRDSVILLE - One and one half stars

>R: violence, drug use, language, adult situations.

>Starring: Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning.

>Director: Allan Moyle.

>Running time: 1 hr. 30 min.

>Playing: Fairfax, L.A.

>In a nutshell: Stoners meet satanists. And it's still not funny.

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Scott Speedman, left, and Wes Bentley star as buddies who run into a group of satanists as they're trying to bury a friend at an old drive-in theater in "Weirdsville."
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 19, 2007
Words:416
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