By Owen Gleiberman
Updated May 26, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Griffin Dunne gives an amusing performance in Search & Destroy as a scurvy, amphetamine-souled hustler, the kind of outer-boroughs-of-showbiz con artist who’s so naked in his desperation that the only one he’s conning is himself. In hock up to his eyeballs, Dunne, who’s teamed here with the adorably flaky Illeana Douglas, attempts to ”produce” a movie based on the Nietzschean manifesto of his idol, a Men’s-movement guru played by Dennis Hopper (seething on cue). Directing for the first time, the New York painter David Salle pitches every encounter at toxic levels of cynicism. Dunne is playing a new breed of conniving self-help leech — he’s Rupert Pupkin meets Stuart Smalley — and it’s funny, for a while, to see him erect lie upon lie, until he’s created a veritable toothpick sculpture of deception. Then, just as we’re primed to see this worm get his comeuppance, John Turturro, chewing scenery by the mouthful, shows up as an egregiously hyperkinetic gangster — at which point the entire movie disintegrates. What began as acrid satire dissolves into a chaotic vaudeville of ”hip” actors (including Christopher Walken at his glassiest), each lost in his own private ozone. B-