Wicker Park is the latest mediocre remake effort from Hollywood.
I have not seen the original French film, L'Appartement,
upon which the movie is based. Therefore, I have only this one to
go on, though I'd wager that Josh Hartnett is no Vincent
Cassel, and Rose Byrne, despite looking eerily similar,
is definitely no Monica Bellucci- nor is German beauty,
Since the television ads and trailers make this movie look like
a stupid horror flick, here's the long and short of it. Matthew
(Hartnett) is a photographer, working for a big corporation based
in NY, and has recently moved back to Chicago where he's about to
marry a woman with teeth that would make Austin Powers jealous.
Before he leaves on a business trip to China, he finds out that
his long-lost love, Lisa (Kruger), is back in town. With the help
of his old friend and shoe salesman, Luke (Lillard), Matt
sets out to find Lisa. However, he only finds another Lisa (Byrne).
It might sound confusing, but if I tried to explain the situation any
more, the massive amount of text would probably give you an aneurysm-much
like this movie nearly did to me. But don't worry- I'll get to that
Hartnett here demonstrates that he really wants to leave the teen
flicks and dumb comedies behind and show that he's a viable leading
man who can play with the big boys. (AN: For instance, see him opposite
Harrison Ford in Hollywood Homicide, and boy did Hollywood
ever commit a critical and financial homicide there- ba dum bum.)
Despite a valiant effort, Hartnett still comes off as more of a
leading lad who
just doesn't possess the charisma or presence necessary for this
type of role. There's also Lillard, taking a break from playing
Shaggy, and going back to the unfunny, air-headed comic relief he
usually portrays. The best line in this film is when Lillard's character
says to Matt, "Remember man, you're not funny." Well if
the shoe fits, Lillard! Or as the Netcop, Scott Keith says, "I
love shoot comments that aren't supposed to be shoot comments."
Worthy of discussion is McGuigan's directorial style for
the film, which seems to resemble some type of French New Wave.
For this movie, it came off as rather
excessive and superfluous. (AN: I always wanted to say "superfluous"
in a movie review. Or have I already done that?) The narrative is
sort of non-linear. Many scenes are broken up; plot points and exposition
are presented through numerous, lengthy flashbacks. The plot is
complicated to say the least, and even though the audience is able
to piece together exactly what's going on rather early, the filmmakers
decide to bombard us with even more expository nonsense. It over-complicates
an already dull story, and just annoys to the nth degree. Just picture
the third act of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
on whatever juice police officers found in WWE champion-turned-now-cut
Minnesota Viking, Brock Lesnar's trunk. There are only so
many "plot twists" a moviegoer can take.
Once the filmmakers were done going over nearly every minute detail
with a fine-toothed toothpick, the movie still seemed to take forever
to reach its "satisfying" conclusion- while still leaving
out the foreshadowed situation of Lisa's jilted, widowed boyfriend
seeking revenge. This movie- it's just as if the filmmakers were
trying to make some sort of foreign art picture, but with Hartnett,
Lillard, and the safe way the movie plays it, it's just too Hollywood
for its own good. But hey Lillard, you still got Scooby Doo 3
-Jeffrey "The Vile One" Harris