The Royal Tenenbaums

Director: Wes Anderson
Year Released: 2001
Rating: 2.0

Plain and simple, a grand disappointment - the empathy present in Rushmore for misguided children - be they actual children or Bill Murray's age - and the sympathy for outsiders looking for love is clearly missing here, replaced with symmetrically-obsessed shot setups and heavy spoonful after heavy spoonful of sugary sweet eccentricity and quirk. Doesn't have a graceful bone in its pitiful, sluggish body (two hours feel like three), and for all the "genius" thrown around in the picture, Anderson's underlying 'theory' is painfully simple - without a stern but supportive father figure, children wind up becoming complete messes. I'm not about to disagree with him there, but it's not a topic to be dealt with so lightly, and further, not one that can be 'solved' (for all Anderson's concerned) with the dumbest deus ex machina I've seen in eons. Gene Hackman is armed with some wily, jaded lines, and Gwyneth Paltrow has never looked better, but what the others are doing I'll never know. Using the Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday' at a key moment is almost unforgivable - giving Bill Murray such a bland, throwaway role is completely unforgivable.