Everything Is Illuminated

Bomb Rating: 

Is this a movie that's ostensibly about the Holocaust or a remake of "K-9"?

Here's one quick reason I hate Liev Schreiber: As I'm typing his name on my word processor right now, the automatic spell correcting thing changes his name to "Live" and I have to go back and make sure it's right each and every time I type it. It's a huge pain in the ass. Get a real name.

Another reason I hate Live Schreiber is that he makes the quintessential "hi, I'm a newbie director, let me impress you with my sense of taste" mistake by loading up on the music in this film like a drug addict alone in a DEA warehouse. I don't think there's five seconds in this film that doesn't have some kind of accompanying soundtrack. Too much music in a film drives me crazy. It's almost always an attempt by the director to get the audience to a feel a certain way because the director can't get the audience to feel that way by, say, directing.

The movie, like the book it's based on, involves Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) traveling to Eastern Europe to find a woman who might be a link to the grandfather he never knew. He travels the countryside with his Ukranian translator, Alex (Eugene Huts) and Alex's grandfather (Boris Leskin), and lots of funny stuff happens, most of which involves Alex butchering the English language.

In addition to overusing music, Schreiber also pulls one of my favorite first-time-director gaffes, which is the inclusion of animal reaction shots. Alex has one of those dogs that brims with personality and Schreiber never misses a chance to film the dog doing something amusing. Is this a movie that's ostensibly about the Holocaust or a remake of "K-9"?

Like most actors, "Everything is Illuminated" is a film that's too cute and too pretty for its own good.

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