Posted by martinteller on October 16, 2005
Godawful sentimentality. Crowe, in his usual fashion, needs to punctuate every single emotional moment with an appropriate lite rock tune (often giving the characters an opportunity to do a heartwarming carefree little dance). Of course, most of the characters are dripping with good ol’ American charming quirkiness and/or wise little tidbits that perfectly sum up life’s bittersweetness. This is what I like to call “Sundance bait”: the likes of Sideways and Garden State and Moonlight Mile. Just plain folks dealing with just plain problems and finding strength through horrible one-liners. Also, the whole “shoe fiasco” is extremely implausible, nor is it ever really explained. Other crimes against cinema: the goddamn “getting cleansed by the rain” scene (in this case, fire sprinklers, but same thing)… character calmly standing in a downpour, arms outstretched, eyes closed, face tilted up in an expression of peace. And perhaps most cringeworthy: trying to milk Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder for a little extra emotional oomph, complete with U2′s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” on the soundtrack. Fucking shameful.
Despite all this… the movie is well-made (just horribly scripted) and the performances are all pretty good. It’s kind of fun, in a certain stomach-churning way. It manages to be touching, but how could it not when it’s trying so damn hard? Rating: 5