Blue Valentine is preceded by the automatic buzz of indie golden-boy director Derek Cianfrance who returned from documentaries to narrative features, with a film reportedly a dozen years in the making.
Imagine this: It’s Poland in 1940. Under duress of unspecified torture, a young guy’s wife rats him out to cruel Soviet authorities, who call him a spy and send him to the gulag. For a while, the guy languishes there. Then, gathering his inner reserves of fortitude and a few pals, he breaks out.
It takes a special kind of mainstream mush to waste Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly and your money all at once. Screenwriter Alan Loeb and director Ron Howard have found the formula. They’ve made a movie so mediocre that it’s completely self-neutralizing.
Should the academy care to inaugurate a new award category this year, for Achievement in Being So Much Less Annoying Than We Expected Given All the Hype, and then fail to bestow it upon Lena Dunham for her film Tiny Furniture, a great opportunity will have been missed.