Friday, February 5, 2010

Accidental Tourist

This seems to be a week of movies that have the life sucked out of them. Accidental Tourist, for example, is a film most dreary, an exercise in dead filmmaking, taking a script filled with quirk and turning it into a dirge.

It's about Macon Leary (William Hurt), writer of the Accidental Book series, a travel guide that takes all the joy, interest and excitement out of new and interesting places. He's also mourning the loss of his son, his marriage to Sarah (Kathleen Turner), and his ability to emote. He meets a wacky dog trainer named Muriel (Geena Davis) who is a very calculated wacky. She sings! She wears long nails! She talks a lot! They get together, because that is what happens in movies like this, after stopping by Macon's quirky but dour family and Bill Pullman trying to be the only cheery character in the film. Eventually he has to decide between the old wife, and the new quirky girlfriend.

"That sounds like the makings of a bad romantic comedy," you might say. This is accurate, but even the worst romantic comedy has life to it. Even if it's an artificial, annoying, badly implemented life, it's life. This has all the excitement of a particularly grim funeral procession. The pacing is plodding, the direction is staid, and the film is just a dirge. It isn't merely that it has no joy, it has no emotion full stop. It's a film so bereft of excitement that even the lead actor can't be bothered to wake up for it. It's two hours of sleepy drifting.

I'll admit that I've didn't expect it to be good, but being that it's directed by one Lawrence Kasdan - co-writer of Empire Strikes Back - and from my limited knowledge of him I didn't expect it to be a dirge. If the actors and director can't bother to care enough wake up for the show, why should we? I can't think of a compelling reason.

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