By Merle Bertrand | October 18, 1999

Nikki, a prostitute as well as a junkie, shoots up and flashes back to a happier time; a time when she was just a prostitute, subjected to being beaten for money by her johns and beaten just for the hell of it by her loose cannon boyfriend Jimmie. Ah, those were the days. Jimmie is hanging out with Crow, a maniacal loser fresh out of jail for a crime committed by Nikki’s brother, Switch. When Crow kills a black man for no apparent reason, it puts Switch, Jimmie and Nikki in grave danger. When Switch hits the streets, desperate to get enough money to allow them to escape, he orders a panicked Jimmie to keep an eye on his sister. Instead, Jimmie loses his temper and kicks her in the head, leaving a noticeable bruise. Crow, a sadistic mother, seizes the opportunity to blackmail Jimmie. He’ll keep quiet about the abuse if Jimmie will force Nikki to have sex with him. With friends like these, it’s no wonder she hit the needle. As the police and the slain man’s buddies both close in, Switch races to rescue his dysfunctional family and move them out of harm’s way. If only “Junked” were even one tenth as good as that synopsis makes it sound. In truth, this lame and sloppy mess is a grating waste of time. Wildly bumpy handheld camera work masquerades as “edgy” and this film measures youthful street angst by the amount of profanity-laced yelling it contains. In fact, “Junked” is an utter embarrassment for a festival that prides itself on celebrating the screen writer. Unless the Heart of Texas Screenwriter’s Conference gives out a special award for the most uses of the words “f**k,” “f*g,” and “w***e,” this film makes a travesty of the festival’s main claim to fame. Featuring a scummy landscape populated by utterly despicable human-shaped vermin, there’s absolutely nothing to like about “Junked.” In fact, the film’s title best describes what should be done to each and every print.

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