by Greg Muskewitz
Another helping from the novelist of The Hours, Michael Cunningham, this time taking care of the scripting himself.It starts in Cleveland, 1967, as a wee lad witnesses his high brother run through a sliding glass door and die. Jump forward to high school, his mother is dead, and he befriends perhaps the school’s biggest dork, culling him out of the closet for what is likely cinema’s most excruciatingly embarrassing scene of mutual masturbation, before his father dies as well. There’s some pot-smoking (the nerd’s mother, Sissy Spacek, gets in on the action rather than discouraging it), and then we jump to adulthood, where Colin Farrell takes over, and he hooks back up with his old friend who’s on the prowl in NYC, and his alterna-girl roommate (Robin Wright-Penn), who has the best use of red-dyed hair since Franka Potente in Run, Lola, Run. We are supposedly to feel sorry for both boys, one for the lack of a family, the other for having his family infringed upon. And so, Farrell’s clinginess taken into consideration, it’s no surprise when he winds up abed with Wright-Penn. In the writing department, at all times, there are far too many circumstantial implausibilities that are being introduced in rapid rotations (same as the songs), and all for the convenience of the script. Cunningham as a writer, and Michael Mayer as a director, have a tendency to introduce a bounty of issues and character flaws that they never take resolve to; the issues are unearthed and divulged, but before any ground can be covered with them, it has been abandoned in search of the next dig. Mayer also has a lot to say sexually, but as well, he doesn’t know exactly what to say or how to say it. Pro-bisexuality, or con-bisexuality? The movie takes a stance on both at different times, only leading to a confused scratch of the head, but once more, the tone is inconsistent and unresolved, which is not a sign of diplomacy, but of a weak spine. Along with her red hair, Wright-Penn is the only one to make much of an impression, but as far as these kind of things go, the matching of two younger actors to Farrell’s physicality is also well done.[See it if you must.]
"When the cons outweigh the pros."
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10223&reviewer=172
originally posted: 08/07/04 18:40:30