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2006-03-30 12:25

Wonderland explores the brutal multiple murders that took place high atop Wonderland Avenue in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon during the Summer of 1981. At first the case seemed to involve only the usual strung-out drug dealers and party hounds, but it quickly became elevated to a classic L.A. noir when it was discovered to be connected to the infamous porn king John C. "Johnny Wadd" Holmes.

By the time our story begins, Holmes had fallen from being the biggest and most famous star in the hardcore industry into a state of financial and pharmaceutical ruin. Holmes (Val Kilmer) is devoted to his teenage girlfriend Dawn (Kate Bosworth) while still married to his wife Sharon (Lisa Kudrow) and the three form a most unconventional love triangle.

In the midst of his spiraling demise, Holmes befriends local drug dealers Ron (Joshua Lucas) and Susan Launius (Christina Applegate) along with their "business partner" David Lind (Dylan McDermott), who operate out of the Wonderland party house. But Holmes is out of his element in the life-and-death world of high stakes drug crime and he soon gets himself neck deep into trouble. Desperate for cash and drugs, the Wonderland gang decides to rob another dealer friend of John's -- the notorious gangster Eddie Nash.

Soon after the robbery, the slaughter at Wonderland occurs. Did Holmes set up his Wonderland cohorts for murder to save himself from the wrath of Nash? It all depends on whose story you believe.

What the critics are saying:

"The high quality of most of the acting makes this otherwise pointless and indulgent movie at least watchable."
- A.O. Scott, New York Times

"True crime procedurals can have a certain fascination, but not when they're jumbled glimpses of what might or might not have happened involving a lot of empty people whose main claim to fame is that they're dead."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Wonderland may not be the feel-good movie of the year; in fact it feels pretty lousy most of the time. But it offers a dark story well-told with some truly fine performances."
- Tom Long, Detroit News

This sordid tale of porn, drugs and murder is well acted but very jumbled and may leave you feeling in need of a shower.

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