Movie reviews by
2 (out of 4)
Richard Linklater has been long overdue for a misstep, an honest mistake. It wouldn't be the first flub, especially with that Bad News Bears remake in the rearview. He had a handsome hot streak this past decade with Before Midnight, the completed Boyhood and Everybody Wants Some!!, but now Linklater is looking more like a washed up Jason Reitman rather than the enterprising filmmaker we’ve come to know and love since the early '90s. Without appealing humor, captivating performances or even useful revelations, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a comedy-drama excelling at neither and home to some of the indie savior's most deflated introspection.
Bernadette has plenty in common with Linklater’s inclinations: optimism, philosophizing, gentle laughs – his trademark humanism is at the forefront where it usually sits. But whereas the writer-director's reflective dialogue often leads to magical spells of wit and burning, veracious insights, the adapted voice of Maria Semple, not to mention a handful of other screenwriters, reduces Linklater's ability to impart his typically harmonious truths. I didn’t need to see several bad trailers to know this was going to be more than a little underwhelming – after numerous delays in release spanning the last ten months, the movie’s precarious mediocrity became readily apparent even without dispiriting confirmation of its Fast Food Nation-tier internal confusion.
Cate Blanchett is as fascinating an actor to scrutinize as you could pray to have steer your film, but her graces here are underutilized. Her depressive, pretentious role reminds you of the class catastrophes of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, except that 2013 gem was an actually adroit character study with a full-blooded performance. Blanchett seems wasted on this kind of material whereas Billy Crudup seems right in his mode filling in the bland status quo. Whether a miscalculations of tone, adaptative finesse or general cinematic potential, Where’d You Go is lost in purposelessness.
To keep it brief...
Soon to Come:
It Chapter Two,
"So what've you been up to?"
"Escaping mostly... and I escape real good."
- Inherent Vice