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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 5%
Average: 22.5%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap37.5%

3 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Wicker Park
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by Luke Pyzik

"If you go, bring a warm coat"
2 stars

As a Chicagoan, the only emotion I felt during "Wicker Park" was despair over the impending winter. This is a cold movie in more ways than one. It involves people who spend the entire running time sulking around the cold streets of Chicago, wandering from place to place as they model the newest winter fashions and flick icicles off their perfectly styled hair. The movie is essentially a mediocre melodrama that for some god-awful reason thinks it’s a bad thriller. If only someone would have taught these characters proper communication skills, maybe they could all go inside and have a hot toddy.

Josh Hartnett stars as young Matthew, a troubled businessman who misses a flight to China because he might have seen a lost love in the phone booth of a trendy restaurant. The girl in question is Lisa (Diane Kruger), a pretty blond dancer that Matthew courted by romantically stalking her. Of course, this courtship would be considered less romantic and more criminal if Matthew didn’t have such nice abs, but I digress. When Lisa suddenly disappears from Matthew’s life, he is sent into a wicked bout of depression from which he never quite recovers, even though he is now engaged to a brunette co-worker who is thoughtful enough to give him sleeping pills before his long flight.

We are also introduced to Matthew’s friend Luke (Matthew Lillard), a shoe salesman and gigolo who is vying for the attention of a hard-to-get actress named Alex (Rose Byrne). Predictably, someone in the group knows more than they are telling, and slowly we are exposed to the laughable coincidences and illogical plot contrivances that initially set the story in motion.

The movie is a remake of L’Appartement, a French film I have not seen, and it does little to disguise its European origins. The characters' histories are told through weaving flashbacks, and while the fractured narrative structure is essential to the story, Wicker Park should be admired for trusting its youth-targeted audience to follow it. The story and outcome may be dumb, but the structure is not, and it will take a thoughtful and attentive viewer to walk away with any understanding of the plot’s convoluted details.

Director Paul McGuigan attempts to maintain an eerie tone with long, peering takes and washed out colors. He does an admirable job of building suspense through the first third of the movie, but it isn’t long before we simply don’t care about what happens to these sad-sack characters. When the payoff finally does come, and the misunderstandings of Three’s Company size proportions are cleared up, it turns out there was nothing to get so worked up over in the first place.

Perhaps the film would work better with a more intriguing lead, someone who could truly sell his obsessive nature and command our sympathies, but Hartnett’s Matthew comes across as little more than a whiney post-collegiate playboy pouting over not getting his way. His blank stare and dead line delivery is rivaled only by Freddie Prinze Jr.’s, and Hartnett proves once again that he cannot carry a movie. Co-star Lillard also comes across like nails on a chalkboard, and he gives yet another in a long line of terrifically obnoxious performances.

"Wicker Park" is a thriller with no thrills and a drama with little heart. It is watchable up to a point, mostly thanks to proficient direction and a nice little mysterious performance by Rose Byrne as Alex, but it meanders on and on until it mercifully comes to an end with an eye-roll inducing climax in an airport. For a movie that thinks it has a happy ending, it sure does leave you feeling cold.

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originally posted: 09/08/04 02:04:46
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User Comments

7/10/14 Tonya Jarrett I only like Josh Hartnett in this creepy little film that says slasher but isn't. 4 stars
1/05/14 new Flaxman's review is right on the money. He was able to put in to words my utter distain of 1 stars
3/03/10 engelheart just an awful movie 1 stars
7/26/07 cody a shocking unpredictable movie with soild performances. 3 stars
1/25/07 William Goss Slight story made initially intriguing by visual style, but is ultimately a letdown. 2 stars
1/21/07 Stephanie i actually thought this movie was amazing. hartnet is cute, and kruger is unbelievable. 5 stars
9/17/06 ad bad 1 stars
9/17/06 hector great movie to watch with your girl , you get it right? 5 stars
3/07/05 ad sucks 1 stars
2/01/05 april gupton so so 3 stars
1/17/05 Roy Smith Again No IMing, email, cell phones, or even mail? Pathetic Idiot Plot. 1 stars
1/02/05 MyGreenBed Muddled, confused, nonsensical...sure, but if I were a teen, I'd likely dig it a bit. 3 stars
1/01/05 Bobby da Squid When did stalking become sexy? Hartnett's more wooden than a cigar store Indian. 2 stars
12/31/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Hartnett is awful (like usual). The movie is awful. 1 stars
12/11/04 Monday Morning Josh Hartnett is only a slightly worse actor than Keanu Reeves. 1 stars
12/08/04 james ignore these guys reviews. Great despite having Josh as lead 5 stars
10/06/04 Chris Afraid it's a waste of time, when your stalking your stalker you know you need help. 2 stars
10/05/04 Taylor Fladgate Film gets stronger as the plot is revealed. 4 stars
9/24/04 slazbo atrocious. and I'm being gentle leaving it at that 2 stars
9/19/04 Christian lady this movie was laughable and completely unvbelievable 1 stars
9/16/04 Kristina Shave your UNIBROW Josh 1 stars
9/07/04 jcjs entertaining, puzzling but pans out, interesting, clever, nice acting 5 stars
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  03-Sep-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Dec-2004



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