It’s hum­ble pie for all con­cerned

MY BLUE­BERRY NIGHTS Di­rected by Wong Kar-wai. Star­ring No­rah Jones, Jude Law, David Straithairn, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Port­man 12A cert, Cineworld/IFI, Dublin, 95 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - MICHAEL DWYER

CHO­SEN as the open­ing night film at Cannes last May, My Blue­berry Nights proved more in­sub­stan­tial than an amuse bouche be­fore the fes­ti­val served up a menu heavy on se­ri­ous is­sues. The first English­language movie from Hong Kong style mas­ter Wong Kar-wai, this pretty but pretty slight ex­er­cise does not com­pare with his best work ( Chunk­ing Ex­press, Happy To­gether, In the Mood for Love).

Singer No­rah Jones makes an un­re­mark­able act­ing de­but, sug­gest­ing that she shouldn’t give up the day job, as the cen­tral char­ac­ter. El­iz­a­beth is a lovelorn young wait­ress who is as naive as the film it­self. Dropped by her boyfriend, she turns up at the New York cafe man­aged by Jeremy (Jude Law), who is from Manch­ester and sounds just like Ant or Dec.

This es­tab­lish­ment is quite unique in that many of its cus­tomers have left their keys there af­ter their re­la­tion­ships have bro­ken up. Only in Amer­ica, per­haps, but more than likely, only an inane idea that ought to have been scrapped from the script. Jeremy adds that there’s al­ways a com­plete blue­berry pie left over ev­ery night, which makes one won­der why the chef doesn’t make one fewer ev­ery day.

El­iz­a­beth and Jeremy bond when they both get bloody noses at the same time, as peo­ple do, but Wong is in tourist mode and sends her on the road. In Mem­phis, she gets drawn into the dis­in­te­grated mar­riage of an al­co­holic cop (David Straithairn) and his adul­ter­ous wife (Rachel Weisz). Iin Ne­vada, she takes off on a Thelma & Louise- style jour­ney with a young gam­bling ad­dict (Natalie Port­man). Oddly, ev­ery­where she goes El­iz­a­beth is known by a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of her name – Lizzie, Beth, Betty.

While it fea­tures the vis­ual flour­ishes we have come to ex­pect from Wong, My Blue­berry Nights is so sim­plis­tic, trite and con­trived that one al­most feels em­bar­rassed for the ac­tors fed with so much puerile di­a­logue. This ef­fort is as mis­guided and tire­some as Lars von Trier’s US-set pic­tures, but at least they were un­in­ten­tion­ally funny.

Bloody No­rah: Ms Jones in My Blue­berry Nights

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