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Richard Linklater, adhering to the same 24-hour frame of his first three features (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise), directs a fine adaptation of Eric Bogosian's tragicomic play about the frustrated lives of several 20-year-old suburbanites, spent mainly in parking lots and pushed to a crisis point when an old friend who's made it big as a rock star (Jayce Bartok) stops by for a visit. Though the material is conventional to the point of generic--even in its surprises--and remains obstinately stage bound in overall ambience, the cast of mainly unknowns is so good, and Linklater is so adept at playing them off each other, that the two-hour playing time never seems overextended or inflated. With Giovanni Ribisi (especially impressive), Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!), Amie Carey, Nicky Katt, Ajay Naidu, Samia Shoaib, and the ubiquitous Parker Posey. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, March 7 through 13. --Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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