In S.F.W. (or So F------ What), the media get sent a message. It goes something like P.O., delivered with the help of a hip rock 'n' roll soundtrack, a nifty spoofing documentary style, and some hilariously vivid comic vignettes.
At the centre of this Jefery Levy movie hurricane is Cliff Spab (Stephen Dorff), a comfortably numb street kid who exercises his right as a loser to do absolutely nothing all of the time.
His clockwork apathy is violently jarred, however, when he becomes a media hero and quasi-cult leader for the directionless masses, after a hostage-taking incident in a convenience store.
Spab survives, and by doing so, ends up as a symbol suitable for exploitation by a friend, a lawyer, a cop, even at a hamburger stand where Spab once worked.
All of these droll references are obvious. All of them are unsettlingly effective.
All of them serve as perfect examples of the imperfections of the hyper-intense consumer society systematically exposed by director Levy. Levy co-wrote S.F.W. with Danny Rubin (based on Andrew Wellman's novel of the same name).
Dorff has just as much to do with the success of the picture. His dazed and confused take on Spab is a not-so-subtle reminder of Kurt Cobain's pre-suicide predicament.
Trapped by his own coincidence, Dorff's Spab finds himself at the wrong place at the right time once too often, a victim of his own luck.
When the media monster turns to try to devour Spab, it is a telling tale. Indeed, the Cobain references in S.F.W. come with no apologies, but lots of afterthought.
By BOB THOMPSON