Date: 23 January 2004
The most overrated movie of this season. Acclaimed as a work of genius, lauded for its performances, script, and subtlety, has its reception anything to do with Sofia Coppola's last name?
It reminds one of a mediocre 80s teen comedy without the laughs, about a trip to Tokyo, sort of a light weight Ferris Bueller, with old Bill Murray holding the fort. Lots of obvious racist gags about silly Japanese people... ha ha they talk weird.. strange for the Japs in the audience that our great movie directors think it odd that foreign people speak foreign languages and pronounce English differently from Americans. Every cliche is trotted out, from the tinkly music over the serene shinto temples, to the inevitable actors enjoying themselves doing karaoke. Perhaps travel is often about not discovering anything, but National lampoons vacation had more nuanced readings of abroad.
Then there is the theme. Not exactly Thomas Mann in its sophistication. We discover, gasp, the ennui of people staying in hotels. You want to tell pouty Scarlet Johannsen ( the new new best thing) to fucking be happy that she is in a hotel and stop whining and looking sad. Neither she nor Murray, who has a lugubrious charm, ever masturbate, watch CNN/MTV,shop, or worry about what they;re going to eat for dinner, which are some of the central and enjoyable activities of staying in a hotel. No wonder they;re bored and restless.
The romance is stale, Johannsen is up herself, its not funny, and I wished it was over half way through, its makes Tokyo look boring (so many tedious shots of neon signs), its boring to look at, and the characters are not even appealing... Still it's an ok way to sit in silence for a while, but I wouldn;t give it a crappy Bafta let alone a golden globe or an oscar.
Cinema is dead. And thank god for that. It never fails to disappoint., Musn't grumble though.