Curtis's Charm

on September 13, 1995 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   "The Basketball Diaries" seems to have primed the pump for Jim Carroll stories, and Canadian director John L'Ecuyer (himself an exheroin addict like Carroll), dug up one of the poet's short stories for his film debut. Although his take on Carroll is certainly grittier than its American predecessor, this very low budget 16mm blackandwhite effort is not actually much better.
   What virtues "Curtis's Charm" has accrue to Maurice Dean Wint ("Rude"), who is galvanizing as Curtis, a ranting, paranoid crackhead who importunes an old buddy (Callum Keith Rennie) to help ward off his demons before he succumbs to their evil ways. It's an energetic, sometimes touching performance, but it comes to nought as the film simply trails into melodrama. Stacked against the riveting "Trainspotting," L'Ecuyer's work fails to engage the viewer with its lackluster heroin drama. Good intentions and realism aside, the minorkey "Curtis's Charm" is quite forgettable. Starring Maurice Dean Wint, Callum Keith Rennie and Rachael Crawford. Directed and written by John L'Ecuyer. Produced by Sandra Cunningham. PA Strand release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 80 min.
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