- Cameron Crowe
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, November 21, 2005
Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) works at a successful shoe company until he is fired after his latest design fails miserably in the market, losing the company about one billion dollars. And just when heís about to commit suicide, a phone call from his sister Heather (Judy Greer) interrupts him. She tells him that their father just died, and that he has to go to his natal city, Elizabethtown, to take care of the memorial, since their mother Hollie (Susan Sarandon) is too upset to do it. Drew then embarks on the trip, and in the way meets a plucky stewardess, Claire (Kirsten Dunst), who gives a new meaning to his life.
If you think the plot dangerously resembles Zach Braffís Garden State (2004) youíre right. I didnít think that movie was a masterpiece either, but it worked on its own level and was quite enjoyable. Elizabethtown, on the other hand, is a mess.
The first half of the movie is almost unbearable to watch. I donít know what happened to Crowe but the characteristics that always elevate his movies are nowhere to be found here. From frame one you can feel the air going out of the balloon. Thereís no energy, no pizzazz, no memorable lines or situations. We learn Drew is fired when his boss (Alec Baldwin) wants to meet him. He then goes on and on and on about firing him, in a series of scenes that are awkwardly edited. And letís not get into the ridiculous circumstances regarding the fiasco for which Drew is credited (market research, anyone?). Then Drew goes home and tries to commit suicide in the most ridiculous way imaginable. Crowe certainly intended this to be witty, but amidst the movieís perfunctory tone, itís ridiculous. Then Drew boards a huge plane which happens to be empty. Say what? Then he gets home and the relationship with his wacky family is boring. He then has a laughably badly-executed encounter with a soon-to-be-married guy staying next door in his hotel Ö and I just gave up all hope.
I donít really know where to pin-point the blame. The movie just doesnít work. Itís scene after scene that screams to be loved, but Crowe tries so hard to please that it comes off as pretentious and a bore. Thereís a much-lauded all-night cell-phone conversation that I didnít think was that great. Perhaps I was too disappointed to be able to swallow it by then.
Even the love story between Drew and Claire rings false every step of the way. I never felt like I wanted them to be together despite her charisma and good heart. I just never liked him. Thereís even a scene involving fire alarms gone awry that had the potential to be much more, but Crowe makes a quick edit and itís over in an instant. A shame...
The finale totally kills though. The movie ends in such a high note that itís a pity nothing coming up to that point resembled that level of energy or craftsmanship. But I left the theater quite happy, so that must say something about the effectiveness of the ending.
Orlando Bloom is part of the reason the movie does not work. I do think heís a good actor, but something happened here that it became a burden to keep up with him. Both the character and the actor are uninteresting in the movie. Kirsten Dunst, on the other hand, channels Natalie Portman and does a good job, being adorable and the only reason the movie gets a pass at some points. Susan Sarandon has a glorified cameo that culminates in a touching scene that goes on for too long. And the rest of the cast is ok, with no one leaving that much of an impression.
Iíll be here waiting for the next one. I hope Crowe hits it out of the park.
ďYouíre always trying to break up with me, and weíre not even together.Ē
CriticSociety en Twitter | CriticSociety en Facebook
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter