Movie reviews by
2 (out of 4)
Richard Linklater has been long overdue for a misstep, an honest mistake. It wouldn't be his 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 rather than the enterprising filmmaker we’ve come to know and love since the early '90s Linklater is looking more like a washed up Jason Reitman. Without appealing humor, captivating performances or even useful revelations, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a comedy-drama excelling at neither, and the venue for some of the indie savior's most deflated introspection.
Bernadette has plenty in common with Linklater’s customary 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 for the release date spanning the last ten months, the movie’s precarious mediocrity became readily apparent even without dispiriting confirmation of its internal confusion on the level of Fast Food Nation.
Cate Blanchett is always fun to scrutinize and as fascinating an actor 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 pearl was an actually adroit character study anchored by a full-blooded performance. Blanchett seems wasted on this cheap consideration of fame, talent and individuality, whereas Billy Crudup and Kristen Wiig seems right in at home filling in the background of the bland status quo. Whether a miscalculation of tone, adaptative finesse or general cinematic potential, Where’d You Go is lost in purposelessness.
To keep it brief...
Soon to Come:
The Current War,
"So what've you been up to?"
"Escaping mostly... and I escape real good."
- Inherent Vice