Sunday, October 16, 2005
Flatlining in Elizabethtown
Cameron Crowe movies have much heart, but Elizabethtown is all heart and no brain. Watching the movie is like being in the ER with a gigantic heart on the operating table. It throbs and hops and convulses, spurting blood on everyone.
Crowe has directed six movies in 16 years. Say Anything... is classic in its earnest adolescent authenticity. Singles took the earnestness to maturity. Jerry Maguire was good, Almost Famous was spectacular, Vanilla Sky wasn't that bad.
Elizabethtown is. It basically feels like Crowe is saying: "I love life and music more than you do." Most Crowe movies make you want to hug yourself; this one makes you want to hug yourself and vomit. The film is so joyous and life-affirming that it sacrifices a connection with reality, spinning into some sort of fantasy world in the last act and stopping everything cold. There really isn't a true moment throughout, and you'll find yourself thinking, "Why isn't my life as carefree and whimsical as this? What am I doing wrong? Should I take more road trips? Gee, I hope my father's death resurrects my lust for life, or something." Sure, we go to the movies to escape reality, but that doesn't mean we should be granted that wish completely.
Also, the film misuses Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon, which is criminal. Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst are milky-skinned specimens of prettiness, but he has trouble conveying the joy and her character is a stutter-step from stalker. As Rog says, it's the most relentless Meet Cute in history.
I mean, you gotta hand it to Cam. He makes movies from the heart. But this one is constant fibrillation.