"My Blueberry Nights" is Wong Kar Wai's first English-language movie. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's also his worst movie. If you're in the mood for love and for this director's luxuriant self-indulgence, though, it's a tonic nonetheless - a gorgeously shot road-movie trifle that requires some of our better-known actors and singers to swoon through Wong's relocated wonderland.
The first obstacle to surmount is singer Norah Jones in the leading role of Elizabeth, a heartsore young wanderer. Jones approaches the part from the side, as if it were a microphone and she weren't sure about the audience. She has a lovely, wide-eyed screen presence, but her character's passivity is only partly intentional.
Jude Law, by contrast, comes at the camera head-on, as movie stars are supposed to do. He plays Jeremy, a New York diner proprietor - stay with me now - who's nursing a broken heart and keeping his fellow romantics' keys in a cookie jar on the counter. Burned by her boyfriend, Elizabeth bonds over blueberry pie with this fellow lost soul before hitting the highway, "taking the longest way to cross the street."
It's quite possible that if you translated Wong masterpieces like 1991's "Days of Being Wild" and 2000's "In the Mood for Love" into English, they too would sound like the musings of an over-romantic girl diarist. Yet "My Blueberry Nights" is held together - just - by the director's love of achy-breaky pop torch songs and multi-level camera shots. At times it seems on the verge of becoming the movie Francis Ford Coppola wanted "One From the Heart" to be.
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