The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Film review: "The Longest Week" is a Woody Allen wannabee, without the wit or originality

  • Print

In "The Longest Week," Jason Bateman plays a privileged, pampered, narcissistic New Yorker whose sole effort at productivity in life is his meandering work on a novel called "The Directionless Generation."

This may be a winking reference to the character himself, who clearly lacks direction, but alas, it's an even more prescient reference to the movie as a whole. There are moments here and there to be enjoyed, mainly for the slick visuals (and wonderfully hip New York apartments), but basically it feels like a directionless enterprise. And though the film is only 86 minutes long, it tends to feel bloated and even a bit tedious by the end — perhaps not an entire generation long, but too long nonetheless.

It also feels derivative of other filmmaking styles. Writer-director Peter Glanz, making his debut feature, is clearly a Woody Allen fan; he uses the same jazzy-type music to accompany his dreamily appealing views of New York City, and he likes psychoanalysis scenes, too. Heck, the first scene has our main character, Conrad, venting to his analyst about his troubles with women, and the analyst is none other than Allen favourite Tony Roberts. Conrad even refers to himself as "Jungian."

Bateman's no stranger to unlikable characters —remember his memorable misanthrope in the recent "Bad Words," who mercilessly stole spelling-bee trophies from innocent kids? But at least that character had an important justification for his ugly behaviour, albeit one we didn't learn 'til the end. Here, Bateman's Conrad doesn't have a redeeming secret. He's just rich and self-centred and duplicitous.

Conrad has lived his entire life in the sumptuous Valmont hotel, owned by his parents, but soon after we meet him, he falls on unfortunate circumstances. His parents, who've spent years travelling the world, are getting divorced, and neither wants to foot Conrad's hotel bill anymore. So he's out on the streets. He escapes to the apartment of his well-to-do friend Dylan (Billy Crudup), who's also a rather pretentious elitist but at least has a modicum of moral sense.

Which Conrad does not. He repays Dylan's hospitality by making a move on the lovely Beatrice (Olivia Wilde), a model and literature lover whom Dylan covets. And he lies to both of them about his financial situation, insisting his temporary homelessness has been necessitated by a hotel renovation.

Nevertheless, Beatrice falls for Conrad — one could ask why, but Allen's characters always got the girls, too. Beatrice, we're told by the omnipresent narrator, loves the precise way Conrad makes a Tom Collins, or ties a perfect Windsor knot in his necktie. The two share a few blissful days together — kissing by the river, for example, as the Manhattan lights glow (another Allen specialty) before things get really messy.

Conrad, it seems, is not destined to be happy. Nor is he destined to grow up.

Or is he? The movie's epilogue seeks to impart a little meaning to Conrad's journey. But by then, we've pretty much stopped caring. Through no fault of the talented Bateman, the movie never really gives us a reason to root for Conrad. And so whatever epiphany may be in store for this annoying character is — sorry, old chap — rather too little, and too late.

"The Longest Week" is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "sexual content and smoking." Running time: 86 minutes. Two stars out of four.

___

MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Inside peek at Real Pirates, new Manitoba Museum exhibit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google