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The bad news, however, is that after an intriguing opening stretch, and despite Jeremy Irons' potent lead performance, the overlong film becomes repetitive, flat and often dull.
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There's precious few yucks, for one thing, but you can't say you're surprised that the astonishingly humorless Lyne hadn't noticed or cared that the Nabokov original is a droll comedy of errors first and a self-pitying romantic tragedy second.
Except for a memorably haunted performance by Jeremy Irons as the conflicted Humbert Humbert, what the new version lacks most of all is inspiration.
In many ways, the concept underlying Lolita is more provocative than the actual material, which tends to be a bit long-winded. This is more the fault of the book than of Lyne's approach.
The film's master stroke is its understanding that this is Humbert's story, told in his own lyrical voice, from his own passionate, sad, tortured perspective.
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