Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ELIZABETHTOWN – Not even the genius that is Alec Baldwin can save this mess

Cameron Crowe’s new movie ELIZABETHTOWN is so bad that The Onion spoofed it this week. Cameron Crowe’s new movie is so bad that even a cameo from that God Among Men, Alec “Two Macs” Baldwin cannot save it. Cameron Crowe’s new movie is so bad that Susan Sarandon frickin’ tap-dances at her husband’s memorial service.

But, my friends, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad tales about the death of kings. Do you remember when Cameron Crowe delivered funny, sweet movies with kickass sound-tracks? Do you remember when Cuba Gooding Junior “showed us the money” in “Jerry Maguire” and when Tom Cruise had Renee Zellwegger at “hello”? Well, my friends, Cameron Crowe has just flushed his indie credentials down the toilet.

Should I even bother telling you the plot? Heck, why not? Just for the sake of tradition. ELIZABETHTOWN tells the story of a young trainer designer – oh yes – played by the Elf from Lord of the Rings. The Elf designs a trainer called the Spasmotica, which is, well, so spastic, that it loses the Nike-a-like shoe company – cue Dr. Evil – “ONE BILLION DOLLARS!” This, we are told by the Phil Nike character, played with Crocodilian charm by Alec Baldwin, “is a lot of money”.

So the Elf is fired. He is about to commit suicide when his dad dies and he has to go to Elizabethtown to arrange the memorial service. En route he meets a perkier than perky air stewardess played by Kirsten Dunst. They talk a lot on the phone. They make out. The whole thing descends into something so sickly sweet it could be on a Hallmark card. The final 30 minutes of the film is deeply deeply irritating – to the extent that I defy you not to walk out of the theatre. The only plus point is that it was 30 minutes shorter than when the film showed at Toronto. Cameron Crowe was shamed into cutting it down by the ritual suicide of all film critics in North America.

Can I say something nice about this film? Dunst and Bloom are perfectly fine. It is the lame-ass script that lets them down. Dunst in particular is asked to inhabit a character so annoying she should be shot on site as a lesson to others. She says stuff like “Men see things in a box, and women see them in a round room.” I kid you not. Alec Baldwin is awesome. So, if you can, sneak into the movie theatre, watch the first 20 minutes, then sneak out.

ELIZABETHTOWN opened in the US on the 14th October, in France on the 2nd November, Germany on the 3rd November and in Austria and the UK on the 4th November. But once again, I urge you NOT to see it.

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