By Owen Gleiberman
Updated August 08, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Los Angeles hardcore punk scene turned rock & roll into a cult of pain. Before he committed suicide (at 22), Darby Crash, the lead singer of the Germs, was the scene’s masochist messiah, a self-styled druggie fascist wastrel who didn’t sing so much as vomit his words. It’s kicky to see a heartthrob like Shane West of ER play this walking piece of human damage in What We Do Is Secret. West does an earnest job, but that’s the problem: He never conjures Crash’s psychotic danger. Neither does this eager, flawed, scrappy biopic. B-