Anywhere But Here

Bomb Rating: 

I don't know who sings the song, and I don't really care, but it's one of those "I am woman, hear me roar" ballads which contains the words "Your love is better than ice cream." I'm pretty sure it was last used in "Better Than Chocolate," the muff-diving film extraordinaire.

Now, I'm as much for muff-diving as the next guy -- it's fun to watch and you don't have to rent any expensive equipment -- but you'd think directors like Wayne ("Smoke") Wang would be more careful. Does he ever even watch other movies? Basically, if I'm trying to watch a film about a touching mother-daughter relationship and I hear music that reminds me of naked lesbians, the impact on my state of mind could be profoundly disturbing, or at the very least convince me that I'm in Arkansas. Wang should know this.

In order to extricate himself from this self-made trap, he needs the performances of his two lead actresses, Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, to be extraordinary. Instead, Wang undermines them entirely. Adele (Sarandon) is the eternal optimist, while her daughter Ann (Portman), can't stand being around her, a state exacerbated by Adele's insistence on moving them to Los Angeles.

This is a nothing story that's mostly focused on the various stages of hissy fits that women tend to have. Like I couldn't save eight bucks by going home for Thanksgiving and watching that for free. Wang appears fascinated by these rather mundane arguments. Given how hard Wang tries to make these situations seem important, and how flaccid he appears to be in his attention to detail concerning the story, it's a miracle he didn't zap the entire audience into a coma. Or Arkansas, whichever is worse.

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