Sunday, May 20, 2007

Marie Antoinette (2006)

**½
USA

What's jarring about Sofia Coppola's misguided biopic isn't the casting of people like Molly Shannon and Jason Schwartzman as an 18th-century French aristocrat and king respectively (along with a potential Abercrombie & Fitch block of wood as a dashing Swedish soldier and love interest to the scandalous queen). It isn't the American cheerleader smalltalk exchanged between the iconic Dauphine and her ladies in waiting; and it isn't the inclusion of such 80s pop culture staples as Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" on the soundtrack. What's genuinely jarring and disheartening is that a picture that combines all of these elements has ended up so lifeless and generic. At its best, Coppola's direction recalls a film school undergrad aping Terrence Malick. At its worst, it resembles a bloated perfume ad. And Lance Acord photography has never looked so kitschy or constrained.

wr/dir: Sofia Coppola
cast: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento, Molly Shannon, Shirley Henderson, Steve Coogan, Danny Huston, Marianne Faithfull, Mary Nighy

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