SLC Punk

Director/Writer:James Merendino
Sony Pictures; R; 97 minutes
Cast:Matthew Lillard, Michael Goorjian, Annabeth Gish, Jennifer Lien

Punk was born snarling in early 1970s England and offed itself (taking cues from its premier icon, Sid Vicious) a few years later. Yet the mysterious tidal pools of fashion have keep things like spiky blue hair alive, even if t-shirts reading “Punk Not Dead” are now available at the local mall. Fresh from the irony and dislocation endemic to the late '90s Americana emerges SLC Punk, a light film tracing the lives of the only two punks in St.Louis circa 1985. It's a decently humorous movie whose `punk' elements are, like contemporary punk itself, just another selling gimmick.

“You want to be an individual, right?” asks Brandy (Summer Phoenix) of the brainy protagonist Steve (Matthew Lillard), “I mean you look like you're wearing a uniform, you look like a punk. That's not rebellion, that's fashion.” Blue-haired Steve is trying to choose between Harvard Law and anarchism, or something like that. His omnipresent voice-overs detract from the film because they clue the audience into the fact that he's neither a crusty punk, an incumbent Ivy-Leaguer, or a particularly compelling thespian. As a teen comedy, however, SLC Punk is modestly goofy and better than most. At least there's no prom scene.

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