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Jason Johnson and Joanne Soh
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Showbiz

Movie date: The Longest Week

The New Paper | Jason Johnson and Joanne Soh | Friday, Sep 19, 2014

STARRING: Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Billy Crudup, Tony Roberts

DIRECTOR: Peter Glanz

THE SKINNY: Ne'er-do-well Conrad (Bateman) moves in with his artist pal Dylan (Crudup) after his wealthy parents cut his allowance. Conrad aspires to be a writer, but unfortunately he doesn't have much to say. He ends up falling for Dylan's beautiful girlfriend Beatrice (Wilde), and they have a week full of ups and downs amid the glamorous backdrop of Manhattan at its fanciest.

RATING: PG13

THE CONSENSUS: It may feel generic, but this is all too pretty and decadent to truly dislike.

 

MARS

You're really in trouble as an artist when the first thing people bring up is who you copied.

All artists steal from other artists to some degree, but if your influences are TOO obvious, then you probably haven't reached the point where your work should be made public. In the case of The Longest Week, it's pretty clear that director Glanz has consumed a lot of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies.

Virtually every critic in the world has brought it up - we're not a terribly original bunch either.

The Manhattan milieu, the cringe-inducing name dropping, the neurotic babbling, the awkward romance - pure Allen.

The fussy framing, the retro props, the goofy narration - pure Anderson.

I really hated the flick for most of its running time, but it ended up winning me over.

There's a scene where a journalist lectures Bateman on how the life lessons contained in his memoir amount to nothing. Bateman responds that he disagrees, that his life is indeed of consequence.

His poise and dignity in this moment caused me to rethink the entire narrative.

The wealthy, the feckless and the decadent have their own challenges in life. I mean, they have to live with themselves, which must be awful.

The Longest Week isn't exactly The Royal Tenenbaums, but then, what is?

 

VENUS

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a Woody Allen movie.

It isn't, but it tries to be.

This Allen-wannabe is all fluff. The plot lacks substance, the dialogue is contrived and the comedy stifled. But somehow it didn't bother me. Simply because everything looks so pretty.

Yes, I sound shallow, but I think that's the appropriate response to the trio of shallow characters.

Bateman's Conrad is an aimless playboy who lives his life without any thought of consequences. Wilde's Beatrice is an aspiring debutante who openly toys with two men's affections. Only Crudup's Dylan seems to be the most empathetic of the trio, perhaps by being the loser.

Bateman never looked so fine and dandy. Never once did I connect with his poor-little-rich-boy character who never really learns his lesson. Perhaps most of the time, I was thinking how perfect Bateman would be as Ewan McGregor's doppelganger.

Director Peter Glanz clearly loves Wilde, judging from his many close-up shots, and she does look gorgeous despite her distracting thick eyeliner.

I also don't know why I'm a sucker for movies set in New York, but Glanz captured the city beautifully.

Glanz's first feature film lacks substance, but this is a man who clearly knows style. I hope his next film will see better substance.


This article was first published on September 17, 2014.
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