Saturday, October 15, 2005

Elizabethtown (**)

Cameron Crowe's latest film has been maligned by critics, and I can't say I disagree with them. Crowe is one of today's most talented writer-directors, so to see him stumble so poorly with this one (especially after the mixed bag that was Vanilla Sky) is a sorry sight. Where to begin? How about the casting? Orlando Bloom works as a dramatic actor when he doesn't speak, but he struggles mightily with his American accent, and is horrible at comedy. This movie needed a Topher Grace or a Gyllenhaal. Kirsten Dunst does fine, but her character is really annoying. I don't like Dunst as an actress, so the character just remains annoying. In the hands of a truly likeable actress, say Rachel McAdams, the character's annoyances could become overcome. It's a shame too, because the first half of the film is actually quite decent. There's a great scene at the beginning with Alec Baldwin, a well-handled suicide attempt shortly thereafter, and a nifty wedding party at the hotel Bloom's character stays at. But once you realize that all of the subplots and little stories aren't going to be tied up or even handled appropriately, you become restless. Then there's THE SCENE. This is a scene that will live in infamy as one of the worst I've ever seen. The movie runs spectacularly off the rails during a memorial service for Bloom's dead father. Susan Sarandon's character, the widow, gets up on stage and does stand-up comedy as well as a stupid tap dance that everyone in the crowd on screen laughs, claps, and loves. The audience in the theater is another story. Just when you think it can't get any worse, Free Bird starts to play, the room catches on fire, and you become amazed at just how clueless Crowe is at this point. Then there's a long road trip segment to end the film, and seemingly show off Crowe's idea of a mix tape. Crowe usually has great style in music, but not here. Every song is used to tell you what's happening on screen or how you should think/feel. Crowe needed at least a dozen rewrites on this sucker. I miss the Jerry Maguire days.


At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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