© 2023 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'Wristcutters: A Love Story'

Our hero cleans up his apartment before he commits suicide, so you figure he's a good kid.

Zia (Patrick Fugit) decided he couldn't go on when his girlfriend left him, but then discovered that the purgatory occupied by folks who commit suicide is just a place where you do go on — and on. It is, he decides, "the perfect punishment ... the same only worse." And in this supremely dusty, gently offbeat, beguiling little road comedy, that's about as close to profundity as things get.

Zia teams up with fellow suicide Eugene (Shea Whigham), who's living with his family, all of whom offed themselves. ("Most families aren't so lucky.") And together the newfound friends head off ... to see the Wizard, more or less, picking up a pretty girl (Shannyn Sossamon) and a dotty older guy (Tom Waits) and even a dog (though he's not called Toto).

By the time they're all arriving at a compound where a fellow named Messiah (Arrested Development's Will Arnett) has decided to commit suicide again, director Goran Dukic's story is wearing a little thin. But along the way, you have to credit him with crafting the most persuasively Eastern European Southern Californian road comedy ever.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.