Beginnings are everything. Almost no film has a good ending and few do much in the middle. But we let it all slide if we are given a good beginning. That’s because the whole enterprise of film is about creating an artificial world. Much other art isn’t so ambitious, abstraction in terms of objects or politics or movement is enough. But film supposes a world.
We as viewers are remarkably sophisticated in how we process subtle cues in how these worlds are established. Genres can transport us in a few minutes. “Art” films attempt unique worlds so the challenge is greater.
I mention this because this film has no beginning, no introduction, no segue from our world. So we struggle to understand where it is coming from and only get established 40 minutes in.
That is why this thing fails so utterly: we can’t groove with the filmmaker because we don’t know where he is coming from. What a contrast with “About a Boy” which effectively told us where we were and then successfully played a few cinematic games with us.
Incidentally, Scarlett has been photographed beautifully elsewhere, but here she looks a bit piggish.
Look closely and see Colleen Camp in the office background. She started her career as the cheesecake decoration, married up and has become an intelligent producer of offbeat fare. Wish she’d been involved in shaping this.
Posted in 2005
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.