Dave's Rating:

1.5

… it was just … off.

Who's in It: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, Chan Marshall

The Basics: A sweet young woman with a taste for blueberry pie à la mode, but who possesses zero napkin-using skills (then again, her sloppiness insures that Law will dab the errant ice cream from her lips with his, so maybe it's all strategy on her part) decides to take long bus rides across the country and get jobs in diners. Along the way, she meets drunks, tarts, compulsive gamblers and Cat Power.

What's the Deal? This is the latest movie — and the first in English — from insanely great director Wong Kar-Wai. He made Chungking Express, Happy Together, Days of Being Wild, 2046 and In the Mood for Love. Any one of those is better than just about anything I've seen this year so far. So it was painful to sit through this and dislike it as much as I did. Something — OK, everything — about it was just … off.

Maybe It's the Dialogue: It would be reductive to say that the English tripped him up. But something went wrong in the scriptwriting process that allowed Weisz to slur out country-song-title lines like "We tried to drink our way back to love." Even George Jones would reject that.

Maybe It's the Acting: All of the cool actors in this deliver some of their worst performances ever. Portman especially seems to have been flown in from an old episode of Hee Haw, doing one of those generic "I'm from South Tacky-lina" accents. You don't notice Law not acting so much because you never expect him to act much. And Jones, cute as she is, isn't compelling enough to hold the camera. At least Cat Power (that's Marshall) is only in one scene.

One Good Thing About It: Awesome cinematography, especially the scenes that show extreme ice-cream-melting-on-warm-blueberry-pie action. That close, it also looks like viscera, so that was fun, too. I was made very hungry.

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