Elizabethtown (2005)


I always try to give my favorite directors the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of their work, I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. What’s so wrong about a dude who met a chick, and the chick helped the dude learn how to live his life, and now the dude has a different outlook on life than the dude before him? Nothing. Nothing! I’ve been that dude, I’ve met that chick, and I say more, Cameron, more, dude! Cameron Crowe is not all about the pimple dick man being helped by a strong woman, it’s a young man learning about life from a special woman. I love that. As for Kirsten Dunst, the melon head is an actress I rather enjoy. In her high points, and utter low points, the woman is easy to look at, and easy to endure.

With “Elizabethtown,” the benefit of the doubt only goes so far. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell was the point to the entire film. We have a jaded young man in the shoe industry, his dad dies before he decides to off himself, then he comes into a small Southern Americana town, and comes across a slew of quirky Southern characters. How utterly original. Some are slack jawed yokels, some wave their American flags, and hell, even our jaded young man Drew has a cousin who loves Lynyrd Skynyrd. Throw in a hoedown and jug, and you have a bonafide cliché-athon! And the question inevitably trails back to: What is the whole point? I’m still confused on that little specific.

I’ve seen better slice of life coming of age bullshit from other directors, and “Elizabethtown” is not one of those better flicks of the sub-genre. It’s scattered and at most times it feels like two different movies sloppily smashed together. One involves a stupid death plot with Drew trying to decide if he’s sad his father died, and one involves Drew romancing a pretty blonde stalker. Neither of which are even remotely as good as they have the potential to be. Any attempt at character focus that is not on Drew is minimal and utterly paper thin, while Orlando Bloom is stale in this lead role. When he’s supposed to be quirky, he’s wooden, when he’s supposed to be emotional, he’s over the top, and he’s just not as charming as he should be.

I wish there was someone else in this role. Crowe’s flop is a flop in every sense of the word. The emotions are flat, the delivery utterly trite, and I just didn’t buy anything that went on here. I mean, how is a girl who takes mental pictures by miming a camera endearing? It’s not. Why is going to a Southern town suddenly the path to a refreshed outlook on life? A pretty blonde who wants to bed you, now that will keep you from suicide. Otherwise, it’s sucky, and I’m disappointed. Sentimental, sappy, and sometimes just crappy, “Elizabethtown” surpasses any hope of being a surprisingly good film, by giving us a brutally cliché plot, bland acting, millions of unresolved sub-plots, and a pointless end result. Though Dunst is a saving grace, it’s an awfully clunky, self-indulgent little heap of garbage.