BY: DAVID PERRY
Based on Elizabeth Wurtzel cautionary autobiography, Prozac
Nation comes as an amazingly uncomfortable experience. It’s the type of film
in which the audience must watch the protagonist hurt everyone around her.
Characters are introduced only for Wurtzel (Ricci) to emotionally destroy
them, and then move on to her next victim. More horror film than commentary,
this attempt to educate people on the vicious power of Prozac and other
mood-altering drugs, is a turgid experience, and one that fails to really
relate its meaning because of the extremes it takes to makes its point.
Couple this story (I must admit I’ve never read the source material) with a
surprisingly obtuse direction by Erik Skjoldbjærg and a collection of
shrill, unforsaken performances, and Prozac Nation proves completely
unbearable. Moreover, its proximity to Harvard Man, another film about sex,
drugs, and the Charles River, with a female protagonist is a debilitating
comparison. Though this could have overcome the miserable James Toback film
by relating substance instead of empty viciousness, Prozac Nation just
proves unforgivably painful to watch, not as much out of technical mistakes
but in its overall tone. Though we are meant to feel there’s hope for
Wurtzel -- the knowledge of her publishing success makes it inevitable --
the only anticipation felt by those unlucky enough to see this is that the
movie will end with her finally getting her comeuppance for paining her
friends, family, and those of us forced to sit through it all.