Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Art School Confidential

2006 Sundance Film Festival

Terry Zwigoff made a name for himself with two creative departures: Crumb (1994) and Ghost World (2001). So we might have forgiven him for the cheap comedy of Bad Santa a few years ago. But there is no forgiving Art School Confidential.

Maybe I’ve seen a worse movie, but I don’t remember when. What is it? A farce? (Too intense.) An art-school satire? (Sometimes, but without enthusiasm.) A love story? (Well, ok, but not a very good one.) A crime flick? (Yes, but a very bad one.)

What were they thinking? John Malkovich produced the movie, but his character is awful and he mailed in his performance. The most remarkable thing about male lead Max Manghella is his Groucho Marx eyebrows. Female lead Sophia Myles has virtually no identity. And everything else is a confused jumbo of overacting and plot contrivances. Even appearances by such talents as Steve Buscemi and Anjelica Huston can’t rescue this hopeless effort.

Maybe there’s something deep and metaphorical going on here, some level of satire that pulls it all together in a way that eludes me. But if this movie even stops at an arthouse for popcorn on the way to DVD I’ll be surprised.


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