Austin Chronicle Review

D: Lee Skaife, Loch Phlllipps; with Craig Addams, Ben Phillipps, Konrad Aderer, Paul Williams, Lucy Snowe, Aaron Alpern.

While Pharmaco may have indirectly funded Robert Rodriguez's first film, co-directors Lee Skaife and Loch Phillipps take the scenario one step further by making a drug research lab both the setting and supporting actor in their film "Use Your Head: The Greatest Hits of a Drug Study." Based on the writings of John Huss and director Phillipps, "Use Your Head" focuses on the interactions among three pairs of participants in a 10-week-long, government-sponsored drug study investigating the combined effects of marijuana and alcohol use. One night a week these human lab rats come together for hits and humor, making observations laced as much with pot as with their own tweaked takes on life. But these characters seem pretty "normal," all things considered. They just have the time (and the drugs) to say the things that most people don't have the energy to process, let alone remember.

The film meanders among Moss (Phillipps, brother of co-director Loch) and Kellen (Addams), two friends who decide to do the study together; Conrad (Aderer) and Dave (Williams), two diametrically -- and philosophically -- opposed participants; and Sara (Snowe) and Duncan (Alpern), who both could use a little loosening up. For all of its uninhibitedness and lack of structure, "Use Your Head" does attempt to develop the relationships among the six characters. Where it succeeds best, though, is in its humor, which mines the "little" moments in life -- such as buying condoms at the corner convenience store -- for some stranger-than-fiction guffaws. Although the film's momentum runs a bit ragged by the end, "Use Your Head" is fairly consistent in delivering hilarious scenarios with poker-faced sincerity. Watching Dave act out "If Men Got Their Periods" is worth the price of a box of tampons, at least. A film that had a lot of people buzzing at its world premiere during last year's SXSW film festival, "Use Your Head" seems destined for cult status no matter how drug-free the country becomes.

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