Prozac Nation Erik Skjoldbjærg

Though Elizabeth Wurtzel's Gen-X era autobiography, Prozac Nation, was a bestseller, the film adaptation met quite the opposite response when it was completed in 2001, sitting on Sony's shelves for some time before it found a limited run on cable TV and, finally, a DVD release. Denied a theatrical release by executives due to poor test screenings, the film is hardly the disastrous abomination you'd expect from a shelved work, but it's not a misunderstood gem either. Starring Christina Ricci (who also co-produced the film) as Wurtzel, under the nickname "Lizzie," Prozac Nation is the telling of the author's journey to college and her downward spiral into manic depression. Ricci delivers a strong performance, but her character is filled with so much confusion and hostility that the role pushes the film into a grating territory that becomes unbearable at times. Jessica Lange and Jason Biggs are given more compelling roles as Lizzie's mother and boyfriend, respectively, with their best moments coming when they face the aspiring writer's adverse side. There are moments where screenwriter Galt Niederhoffer comes near an interesting storyline, such as Lizzie's rock journalism fascination with Lou Reed (who makes a surreal and sensual cameo) and Bruce Springsteen, and her relationships with Biggs's Rafe, Ruby (Michelle Williams) and her estranged father, Nick Campbell from DaVinci's Inquest, but nothing is ever fulfilled and the interesting bits are smothered with psychosis. Yes, it's obviously the result of Wurtzel's real life, but come on: we're watching a movie here. Strangely, the film avoids any serious exploration of mental illness, and even the subject of the controversial Prozac is hardly touched until the film's dying moments, where Lizzie finally drops the name of the drug and accepts its debilitating side effects. As a whole, it's difficult to decide what Prozac Nation's purpose is, other than to simply adapt Wurtzel's book, which isn't enough to keep you comfy for 100 minutes. Some extras would have been nice too, like a commentary by either Wurtzel or Ricci, but it seems the studio wanted to wipe their hands of this project and avoid spending any more money. (Sony)