Saturday, October 22, 2005

film - Elizabethtown


1 / 5

An abject failure from acclaimed director Cameron Crowe.

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There's a far superior film about a young man who travels to be at his father's funeral - Garden State. Where that film was rich in subtlties and heart and featured a superbly understated performance by Zach Braff, Elizabethtown forces profound emotions but failed to connect with me emotionaly.

Orlando Bloom doesn't have the depth to carry off the character of Drew, a designer at a Nike-esque global corporation held unrealistically responsible for costing the company $1 billion in losses due to a poorly received new sneaker. The CEO was played by a pudgy Alec Baldwin. So far, he's proven himself to be strictly supporting-actor talent and nothing Oscar-worthy. Kirsten Dunst is pixie cute as the bubbly flight attendent who does everything possible that would label a man a stalker, but coming from a woman, we're supposed to buy her character's lavishing of attention on Drew as being flirtatious and romantic. There are women out there who are insanely dynamic and very quickly trusting of complete strangers, but they are so rare that Claire, Dunst's character, sets the tone early on that this film will tell its story without feeling obligated to do so with credibility. And that is its biggest downfall.

Shortly after hearing of her husband's death, Hollie (Susan Sarandon)reacts by taking up organic cooking, car repair and tap dancing, all at once. Sure. But wait until Claire shows up at the memorial service and references her neighbor consolling her while his member sprouts, and tap dancing to her deceased husband's favorite song. Happens all the time, right? There are so many unbelievable moments like these that they smother any real warmth that was supposed to emerge.

The supporting cast is fine, however. Dunst has genuine charisma. The Kentucky family appeared to be accurately portrayed. Crowe's final chapter with Drew driving home and stopping off along the way, is a loving tribute to heartland America in a travelogue, but the idea behind it the road trip, following a "map" put together by Claire is very cheesy and far-fetched. Again.

In flashbacks, the young Drew Baylor is played by a couple of actors including one who looked at lot like the character William Miller, the 15 year-old writer featured in Crowe's 2000 hit, Almost Famous.

There were no moments when I felt the emotions at anything but a superficial level. This film felt overly long and I couldn't wait for it to be over. I cannot recommend it.

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