Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Billy Crudup, Tony Roberts, Jenny Slate
Directed by: Peter Glanz
Synopsis: Affluent and aimless, Conrad Valmont lives a life of leisure in his parent’s prestigious Manhattan Hotel. In the span of one week, he finds himself evicted, disinherited, and… in love.
Do you remember that film Single White Female? Well, if the movies of Wes Anderson were the Bridgette Fonda character, this film would be the Jennifer Jason Leigh character, totally obsessed and in love. The similarities to any given Anderson film are so brazen that it’s actually distracting. From the title credits, the music (including sixties French pop of course) through to the narration and camera angles. It even has moments shot in slow motion! The trouble with all of this is that Anderson’s style is so uniquely his that the instance anyone tries to imitate it you can spot it from a mile off, and the results usually don’t compare. This is because, love him or hate him, Anderson imbues his films with a certain quality. They are charming, child like and framed and shot exquisitely. Unfortunately, The Longest Week could just not compete.
That isn’t to say its a bad film. In fact, if Wes Anderson had decided to pursue a career other than film maker it would have been a pretty decent film. The trouble is the debt to Anderson, with The Royal Tenenbaums in particular, is so huge that the film never gets past it, at least in my heavily biased Wes eyes.
Jason Bateman plays, as you can guess, a wealthy New Yorker in trouble. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach and Whit Stillman are all clearly influences on Glanz too. Bateman’s character Conrad Valmont falls for model Olivia Wilde and we spend a week in their company and that of his friend Peter played by Billy Crudup. To be honest, this was another fault with the movie. Everything that happens in the story happens in one week. Even though the clue is in the title, I actually had to remind myself of this as I was watching it because it never once portrayed that to any great effect.
I can’t fault any of the performers. Bateman was his usual deadpan best, Wilde continues to get better (and always looks amazing) and Crudup was fine in his supporting role. Unfortunately, with or without it’s influences front and centre, The Longest Week is never more than an average romcom. Sure it’s a bit quirkier than your average one, maybe more in line with (500) Days of Summer, but there is nothing revolutionary and certainly nothing original about it.