Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish play unbelievably gorgeous heroin junkies Dan and Candy in Candy, a don't-try-this-at-home melodrama adapted from Australian author Luke Davies's aptly billed "novel of love and addiction." Essentially the film is Requiem for a Dream with a lot less of that overrated indie's shooting-gallery pizzazz, although director Neil Armfield does put his smacked-out couple on one of those centrifugally forceful amusement park rides in the very first scene in order to suggest that their young lives are, you know, spinning out of control. En route to drug hell, the film manages some faintly amusing moments, as when Dan, high at his own wedding, is treated to a boring elder's Graduate-level career counselreal estate, not plasticsand literally nods off. Cornish, Kidman- esque in her elusive, look-but-don't-touch allure, may have the title role here, but Ledger, long-haired and so soft-looking you'd think he was shot slightly out of focus, is the movie's real eye candy. Armfield's colorful sets keep things on the implausibly cheery side of surreal until the requisite withdrawal scene, which uses nothing more than a room-sized mattress and a pathetically old TV set as props, the quivering junkies left to their own devices. Any drug movie's effectiveness can be measured by the strength of its detox, and Candy doesn't sweeten the cold turkey. Still, it's a downward spiral from there in more ways than one. Never mind the neo-psychedelic-pop soundtrack and occasional double-vision cinematography: Dope just can't account for the film's fried brain cells.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.