With black holes for eyes and a tombstone for a forehead, Ricci is a natural at gloominess and ennui. She has no problem looking numbed by melancholy. But she's too good at it, and we are stopped at her exterior as if her face were a barred door. Her look does not allow for a bright side, and the darkness, so perfect, always seems a little banal.
Ricci, who also serves as a co-producer, still would have done fine with better material. But "Prozac Nation," already feeling a little out of date, is a surface-level endeavor. We get the background of Lizzy's angst the montages of her divorced parents raging into opposite ends of the phone and using her as a weapon against each other are often particularly convincing, with Jessica Lange and Nicholas Campbell turning in strong performances as the damaging duo.
We see the end game, too: emergency visits to the hospital, appointments with the shrink (Anne Heche) and broken glass against the wrist. Add to that referrals to the Cliff's Notes of the emotionally dispossessed: "I'm not normal," etc. But not once does the movie attempt to show what happens beyond the eyes of Wurtzel's friends and relatives, to venture into the lonely pit of depression and tease out the reasonless, inexhaustible feelings that drive millions to ingest pills simply to "get a breathing space." The movie is at its best moments a coming-of-age story and at its worst a sensationalist melodrama. As a whole, it is depressingly normal. Wayne Melton
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