Published Oct 01, 2005Elizabethtown is a sprawling film that feels like several movies crammed into one. The story follows Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) as he goes to Kentucky to deal with his eccentric relatives in the wake of his father's death. Drew is trying to hold everything together while knowing that he is on the verge of being publicly humiliated for a colossal failure at his job designing shoes for a Nike-esque company. On his journey, he meets a perky stewardess named Claire (Kirsten Dunst) who gives him a new lease on life. Tacked onto the end of this overlong film is a sort of love letter to America in the form of a rock'n'roll road trip.
The many storylines in the film never quite connect, with the quirky family drama and the optimistic love story being particularly incongruous. Orlando Bloom lacks the emotional sincerity and depth to carry off this lead role, so while he's always watchable, he's never really believable. Kirsten Dunst does pretty well, but has to deliver quite a bit of cheese in her sunny saviour role. There are a few big cameos in the supporting cast, including an over-the-top Susan Sarandon as Drew's high-strung mother, and a very funny Alec Baldwin as Drew's boss, a perfect Phil Knight knockoff who laments the large sum of money his protégé has cost the company.
Director Crowe's trademark sentimentality is all over this film, but he favours dreamy music montages over substance or character development. The film has its pockets of nice moments and interesting ideas, but it just doesn't come together in any coherent way. (Paramount)