ReviewWriter: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Diary Of A Sex Addict”, “The Stepford Wives”, “The Ballad Of Jack And Rose”
Just like the crème brûlee she heats up so effortlessly with a butane torch in the movie, the titular heroine Pippa Lee (played by a faultless but helpless Robin Wright Penn) is sweet but burnt all the same by a source material that is either too quirky and personal for commercial big-screen interests or plain unlikeable, despite having an embarrassment of stars to drive it.
No surprise then that this drama hasn't even secured wide distribution stateside and instead got itself washed up on our shores first!
It's a film with many odd facts. How many movies do you know in which the author of the book is also the director? Rebecca Miller ("Ballad Of Jack And Rose") has said in interviews how the recession has caused box office players to be wary of quirky dramas. The true question really is whether the movie is so hard to sell or is the story actually too hard to buy?
Unfortunately it's the latter. Beautiful Robin Wright Penn may still have that screen appeal since her Jenny Curran last asked to be groped by Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" but she's asked to play a character so schizophrenic and uneaxamined that it turns fatal to the flick. She's a fiftysomething housewife moving into the so-dubbed Wrinklesbury (retiree community) with her much older, ailing, publisher husband (a wonderful Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine") who once had a psycho ex-wife played by Monica Bellucci ("Shoot 'Em Up"). Flashes from her past inform us that she was a troubled 16-year-old emo goth (impressive turn by "Gossip Girl" Blake Lively) who had colourful family in a speed-addicted mum (Mario Bello, "The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor"), a lesbian aunt (Robin Weigert, TV's "Deadwood") and her wild lover (Julianne Moore, "Hannibal"). There's also room for Keanu Reeves as a sensitive but odd Christian with a giant Jesus tattoo on his chest and Wynona Ryder as a cry-baby of a young wife.
As many critics note, this movie has peculiar pacing, uneven dialogue and also a messy visual style. More importantly, it doesn't cut it as a mainstream crowd-pleaser or a critically-directed arthouse piece either. Even if something bizarre about this film turns it into a sleeper hit on DVD, this reviewer insists that Pippa Lee's lives, whatever they're about, are best kept private.Cinema Online, 06 October 2009