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MOVIE REVIEW: Somewhere

Sofia Coppola's newest film goes nowhere

(L-R) Elle Fanning as Cleo and Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco in "Somewhere."

(L-R) Elle Fanning as Cleo and Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco in "Somewhere."

  • (L-R) Elle Fanning as Cleo and Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco in "Somewhere."
  • (L-R) Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco and Elle Fanning as Cleo in "Somewhere."
  • Somewhere
  • Elle Fanning as Cleo in "Somewhere."
  • Somewhere
  • (Right) Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco in "Somewhere."
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Somewhere doesn’t go anywhere. That’s odd, because the protagonist has this sleek black Ferrari he likes to drive down Sunset. He has planes take him to Italy (with not just a Jacuzzi, but a pool in his suite); and any pretty woman who sees him ends up immediately going to bed with him.

The story is about an actor living at the Chateau Marmont Hotel (famous for John Belushi's death, and various celebrity antics over the years). He’s bored with life, possibly suffering a depression and his ex-wife drops their 11-year-old daughter off with him (played well by Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota).

The actor is played by Stephen Dorff, and writer/director Sofia Coppola does this movie like most of her pictures – with a minimalism that comes across as a bore fest. This time, it’s added toby a number of long takes that aren’t necessary. One of those include a five-minute scene of Dorff sitting on the couch smoking.

His publicist calls each morning, and he’s passive but polite as he goes through the various press junkets. And if that means bringing the daughter he now has to babysit, he does.

The dialogue is so sparse that at one point I was wondering if there was even a script for this picture, or did the actors just wing it?

I didn’t mind the slow pacing of Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and the actor stuck in a hotel in Japan feeling lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage.

Why is she taking that same story and making it less interesting?

The first time we saw strippers pole-dancing in his room – okay. Did we need a second scene?

The fourth five-minute scene that could’ve been cut to one minute had us watch a mold dry on Dorff’s face. Now that was slightly amusing because we start to think about the various things actors have to do for parts. I just couldn’t help think that watching mold dry would probably be as entertaining as this movie.

Coppola can evoke melancholy well and how the life of an actor can be boring at times. The problem is that just makes a boring movie to watch.

The filmmakers of The American wanted us to understand George Clooney’s loneliness. We did, but were bored (and that was 10 times more exciting than this picture).

And some might even argue that the actor's life isn’t so boring. He’s sleeping with various women, traveling to exotic locations and even just taking a phone call on the balcony gets a woman flashing him.

The few times there was dialogue in this, Coppola did what I complained about in Lost in Translation. She used jokes that have been done before.

In this, those include Dorff saying the wrong name of the woman during sex, an angry woman he previously slept with approaching him at a hotel and yelling (this happened a few times in the movie) and the ever popular man falling asleep just as he’s ready to please the woman he’s with.

I felt so bad for Coppola when she got criticized for her bad performance in Godfather III, but someone needs to explain to me why critics praise her films. They’re awful.

This movie did have a few things I liked.

I heard "So Lonely," "20th Century Boy"and a few other good songs in the movie (and I’m glad she gave love to Bow Wow Wow in Marie Antoinette).

What’s really frustrating is this story could’ve been so interesting.

Now, father and daughter never have some profound conversation that changes him. This guy is a heel, and he’s trying the best he can to be a good dad. He looks up occasionally as she ice skates, puts his arm around her when she cries and compliments her on the breakfast she’s made.

I'm not sure why at another breakfast he doesn’t explain who the woman is that has come out of his room wearing a bathrobe as they all sit and eat uncomfortably.

Dorff may be bored with life but not as bored as those of us watching him slouch through each day in this pretentious piece of filmmaking.

Somewhere seemed like something a film student would’ve made. The fact that I just saw this movie on Roger Ebert’s list of 10 best of the year made my jaw drop.

This gets a D-.

If I was a professor at NYU and a film student turned this in and was 45 minutes shorter, it would get a B-. I expect more from an Oscar winner.