Last updated
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Written byGreg Erb
Craig Mazin
Produced by David Hoberman
Cinematography Daryn Okada
Edited byRoss Albert
Music by Boris Blank
Dimension Films
Mandeville Films
Gold/Miller Productions
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date
  • February 20, 1998 (1998-02-20)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[ citation needed ]
Box office$13,109,234 (USA) [1]

Senseless is a 1998 American buddy comedy science fiction film directed by Penelope Spheeris and written by Greg Erb and Craig Mazin. The film stars Marlon Wayans, David Spade, and Matthew Lillard as college students.



Darryl Witherspoon (Marlon Wayans) is an economics student at Stratford University, who does not have the advantages of his wealthy nemesis, Scott Thorpe (David Spade), or his best friend Tim LaFlour (Matthew Lillard), straight edge punk rocker who has a hockey scholarship. Darryl is so broke he donates four pints of blood in one day (playing a different character each time) and four vials of sperm in one day. Darryl's big break comes when he enters a competition, where the winner gets a high-paying Wall Street job. But when Scott enters the competition, it seems Darryl's break has gone down the drain. He takes on a high-paying experiment to test a drug that enhances the five senses. Darryl uses it to his advantage and he impresses the competition's supervisor, Mr. Tyson (Rip Torn) and he even joins the hockey team as a goalie. But after taking an extra dose one night, he experiences side effects. The experiment's supervisor, Dr. Thomas Wheedon (Brad Dourif), tells Darryl only four of his senses will work at a time until the drug leaves his body.

As Darryl struggles, Tim thinks that his friend is on heroin and gets worried about him. Darryl's luck then starts going down the drain as he loses the hockey game because his sense of sight is lost. He also mistakenly confesses love to his girlfriend's father who he thinks is his girlfriend as his sense of sight is lost. Her father turns out to be Mr. Tyson. He also acts very clumsily (because of the loss of the ability to feel) during the basketball game he is invited to see with a client who needs to be impressed in order for Darryl to score some points with the Smythe-Bates guys. Luckily, the client thinks Darryl is just funny and signs a contract with the company.

As the story progresses, Darryl asks his friend Tim to help him study for the next day's interview. At that exact moment, Scott studies for the test with the aid of his rich father's employees. Scott is shown to answer a question correctly but he does not know the reason behind it, he ignores the question. The next day, the drug leaves Darryl's system and now all his five senses operate normally. During the interview, it comes down to Darryl and Scott, Scott is asked the same question he was asked last night, he answers it correctly, but when asked the reason, he does not know, Darryl steps in, gives the correct reason and scores the position of junior analyst at Smythe-Bates. But in his speech, he confesses that he cheated by taking an experimental drug. A meeting is called to decide his fate and Mr. Tyson tells him that he himself started out in the mail room and Darryl should too, if he serves one year duty in the mail room, he will score the position of junior analyst. The story skips a year and Darryl is shown to ask his mom to move into a deluxe apartment. The movie ends with Darryl entering the Smythe-Bates building on his first day, with a familiar-looking doorman (Sherman Hemsley).



Senseless was financed by Dimension Films/Miramax, and was the second movie idea Princeton University comedy writers Craig Mazin and Greg Erb had successfully pitched, with their first being the 1997 Buena Vista comedy RocketMan . [2] Filming began during June 1997 in Los Angeles. [3]


Box office

Senseless opened on February 20, 1998 and, in its opening weekend, made $5,337,651 at #5 behind Titanic 's tenth weekend, The Wedding Singer 's second, Sphere 's second, and Good Will Hunting 's twelfth. [4]

Critical response

The film received negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 6% based on reviews from 17 critics. [5] On Metacritic the film has a score of 36% based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". [6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale. [7]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 out of 4. [8] [9] [10]


The Senseless soundtrack was released February 10, 1998 by Gee Street Records.

  1. "Busy Child" - The Crystal Method
  2. "Song for Lindy" - Fatboy Slim
  3. "Absurd" - Fluke
  4. "Together" - Moby
  5. "Do You Want to Freak?" - The Freak Brothers
  6. "The Unexplained" - Gravediggaz
  7. "Graciosa" - Moby
  8. "Reeferendrum" - Fluke
  9. "Set Back" - Fluke
  10. "Jungle Brother (True Blue)" - Jungle Brothers
  11. "Spacefunk" - Headrillaz
  12. "Perfect for You" - P.M. Dawn
  13. "Atom Bomb" - Fluke
  14. "Look Around My Window" - Ambersunshower
  15. "Mucho Dinero" - Yankee B.
  16. "Smash the State" - Naked Aggression
  17. "Gotta Be...Movin' on Up" - Prince Be of P.M. Dawn featuring Ky-Mani and John Forté

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  3. Archerd, Army (1997-06-03). "Uhry play again getting screen offers – Variety". Retrieved 2019-05-11.
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  7. "SENSELESS (1998) B+". CinemaScore . Archived from the original on 2018-07-22.
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  9. McCarthy, Todd (17 February 1998). "Senseless". Variety .
  10. Janet Maslin (February 20, 1998). "'Senseless': College on a Sense-Enhancing Drug". The New York Times .