Quantcast

Thursday, July 31, 2014         

MOVIE REVIEW


 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Finesse, brevity lacking in 'Words'

By McClatchy News Services

POSTED:


"Words and Pictures" is the cloying title of a cloying little comedy made by talented people who, not that long ago, deserved better than this, and knew it.

It's a nearly two-hour-long "meet cute" academic romance from Fred Schepisi, the director of "A Cry in the Dark," "Roxanne" and "Barbarosa" (rent them if you haven't seen them).

"Words" would be English teacher Jack Marcus, a once-promising poet who has gone to seed — and bourbon — at an exclusive private school where the kids adore "Mr. Marc" (Clive Owen) even if the administration and the local barkeeps don't.

"Pictures" is Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), the new art "honors" teacher, a semi-famous painter suffering a debilitating illness, forced to take teaching work because the brush no longer does what she wants it to do.

Mr. Marc, drunk and late for class, challenges his kids — "Who ARE you droids?" He assigns them to "write one sentence that elevates the human mind."

Delsanto is cranky, exacting and just as challenging.

‘WORDS AND PICTURES’
Rated: PG-13
* *
Opens Friday

"I'm NOT the kind of teacher you're going to come back to visit." Her outgoing voicemail message echoes that.

To Delsanto, "words are lies," especially for an artist.

Marcus reads his students a snatch of "The Declaration of Independence."

"WORDS did that, not pictures."

And since she's cute, with or without crutches, and a challenge, it is on. SO on. The teachers will feud and flirt, the kids will rise to the occasion, painting or purple prosing to great heights as we head toward a school assembly showdown which will decide if a "picture is worth a thousand words," or vice versa.

Owen makes a decent drunk and a passably glib chatterbox. Marcus is outside his usual simmering comfort zone. If nothing else, he and screenwriter Gerald Di Pego make this a very listenable script.

Binoche can play brittle, and their banter works, sometimes.

But it's all predigested, a happy ending straining to find obstacles to get in its way. Schepisi dawdles when he should sprint and adds on when he should have subtracted. The students, collectively, make no impression. Bullying is introduced and tossed aside; Jack's former lover (Amy Brenneman) somehow has a say in whether he'll keep his job, booze and all; there's a son he keeps letting down — all ideas brought up and left to wither.

Enough already. Romantic comedy should be light on its feet as it falls trippingly off the tongue. "Words and Pictures" is a lead-footed, witty bore.

Review by Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers






 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(0)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
IN OTHER NEWS
Blogs
Political Radar
`Toss up’

Political Radar
Super

Political Radar
Hilton; Plaza Club

Political Radar
Direct mail

Political Radar
Direct mail

Aperture Cafe
Ramadan #latergram