Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Broken Bones

I'm sure someone who's read the well-loved book will correct me - what else is the internet for, after all? - but everything that felt wrong about The Lovely Bones the film is what I expected the book to be like and is what kept me away from reading it all this time. I suppose I've got a bit of a prejudice against afterlife films/stories in general since they're always awash in twee (spiritual) nonsense with a constant assault of sunrises and rainbow butterfly spirits and hope (gag), but I could hardly stomach some of that junk. Dreamy girly-girl stuff that worked in Heavenly Creatures so well just annoyed here. I guess it's easier for me when the fantasy prince is a clay monster.

Anyway! Mark Wahlberg should never be allowed to take any roles where the main objective of his character is not for us to laugh at him. He exceeds at being a joke; serious drama, notsomuch. I love him in Boogie Nights and I Heart Huckabees but I'd be willing to give them both back if someone would just stop him now before he ruins anything else. Not that the film isn't fault-worthy outside of his performance, but a stronger actor in this role would've gone a long way towards gluing the mess together, a bit, perhaps. Rachel Weisz bats her beautiful big eyes and I cry. Every time. Her character felt the most short-changed, but that might just be me wishing she were on-screen instead of a bunch of other crap. Susan Sarandon, totally hysterical, but in some other movie. Stanley Tucci successfully creeped me out but it was a bit much, his character. (Also, it's probably problematic when I wanted to crawl into that post-murder tub with him, right? That was supposed to be scary, correct?)

There was just too much junk going on. It felt like three different movies at once, and I just kept wanting Susie to go into the goddamned light so I could watch a straight-forward drama with a camera that lingered for a moment on an actual face and not some CG topiary. I do get Saoirse Ronan now (I found her insufferable in Atonement but that was really that whole movie's fault), she's got a great emotional landscape of a face and she was fine here but there seemed to be something missing from her purpose in the film. Or rather she had thirty different purposes and it never felt like any were landing. She wants to kiss the boy, she wants to be with her father, she wants to catch the killer, she wants to LIVE, she wants to play in her awesome afterlife world, she yadda yadda yadda, reel it the hell in, Peter Jackson! Bits and pieces were good, he'd find a thread and follow it for a little while and you'd get sucked in, but then we're tumbling off some other corridor and it feels like we're not even in the same house anymore. The structure's a mess, crumbling in on itself, so much that when Stanley Tucci gets what's coming to him all it did was make me laugh. By that point I didn't even care. Susie got her heaven, where the hell was mine?


Carl Joseph Papa said...

amen! i feel that this is one of the year's worsts. i hated it.

RDaggle said...

"a stronger actor in this role would've gone a long way towards gluing the mess together, a bit, perhaps."

Ryan Gosling started making this film but was let go after 'creative differences' with Mr. Jackson.

But I bet you knew that :)

Jason Adams said...

I did indeed, RDaggle. ;-) And I can't believe I forgot to mention it there. Gosling is obviously "a stronger actor" too but I don't entirely think he would've worked in the role either and it's for the same reason that he reportedly got canned - he woulda looked way too young. As it was Marky Mark, even though technically old enough to be the father of a 14 year old girl, didn't seem old enough, but that's probably due to his lack of any kind of gravity at all. I haven't given it enough thought as to who they shoulda cast. Anybody got any ideas? Jeremy Renner perhaps? I only say him since he's on my mind today but he's a solid smart actor with enough age on him.