April 25, 2010

'Bad' Bridges Mumbles to Imperfection in 'Heart'

How I hate movies about down-and-out, once-popular performers who've hit the bottle as they've hit bottom.

Didn't we get enough of that type of thing (played for laughs, of course) in This Is Spinal Tap? I mean, do we have to go once more unto the breach with this plotjerker in Crazy Heart?

It's so easy, methinks--a device that never fails to win accolades. Which it did, of course, for Jeff Bridges, who landed an Oscar earlier this year for his mumbling, muttering performance as boozin', womanizin' country "music" has-been Bad Blake.

Oh, he's bad all right. Bad to the bone. And that's just a description of Blake's songwriting.

Which, to be fair, isn't Bridges' fault. Scott Cooper, CH's director, pads out this rather thin film with interminable musical interludes that slow down the pace greatly and provide little insight into the man, the myth that is Bad Blake.

And yet, this character's so uninteresting, I hardly care that we aren't seeing how the great genius got to be where he was...though we do get glimpses into his lying-semi-prone, half-naked-with-booze-and-a-guitar creation process.

Yeah, a regular Mozart at work, that.

The problem with CH is there really isn't much new here. Blake calls the son he never knew and is rejected by him. He hasn't written a song in years...but he does by the end of the movie.

If this doesn't get your dreary buttons blinking, I don't know what will.

Through all the cliches and uninspired music, there is some decent acting here. Old pro Robert Duvall, who apparently helped produce this flick, provides crusty support as, well, a crusty bartender. Who's seen a lot of life...or something. And Maggie Gyllenhaal is her usual reliable self as Blake's new, single-mom flame. Even Colin Farrell steps in as a new-breed singer mentored by Blake, though his character is dropped halfway through the movie, only to reappear at the end singing one of Blake's unmemorable tunes.

The movie, however, meanders too much...just like its subject. It's episodic, with a rather threadbare plot. And as Blake, Bridges is almost incomprehensible at times, summoning Marlon Brando and Tom Skerritt in a performance worthy of asking the question, "Is the TV on too low, or is this dialogue too garbled to understand?"

Not that it was interesting enough to warrant a quick rewind. The film does pick up a bit as it lopes toward the end, but by that time, it's too late. Maybe CH gets better with a few shots of moonshine, but I'd say, don't waste it.

Save it for Amadeus.

No comments:

Post a Comment