The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Wicker Park

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Judy Thorburn

Wicker Park

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

BAD TIMING CAUSES CONFUSION IN “WICKER PARK”

It’s been a while since we saw Josh Hartnett in a movie.  A few years back he was hailed as Male Star of Tomorrow at the annual ShoWest convention in Las Vegas. But, we have yet to see him live up to that promise.  His last appearance was in 2003’s forgettable Hollywood Homicide, in which he costarred alongside Harrison Ford.  And. by the looks of it, his latest vehicle Wicker Park won’t do anything to boost his career.  Josh better get on a role (double meaning here) that shows he is not just another young Hollywood hunk.  We need more than solemn expressions and some tears to be impressed by his work in Wicker Park, a disappointing thriller.

Wicker Park is another one of those American made, English spoken, versions of a foreign film. In this case, the story is based on the 1996 French film, L’Appartement”, which starred Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci.  I didn’t see that film, but I would think something went terribly wrong in this remake, or was lost in the translation. I am an avid fan of good psychological thrillers.  But, Wicker Park can’t decide whether it wants to be that or a complex love story. And, it fails as either. There isn’t much thrills or suspense, but it is does offer plenty of confusion.

Matthew (Hartnett) finds himself drawn to a blonde beauty he has seen outside the store window where he works, in the Wicker Park section of Chicago. When he finally meets her, they date, fall in love and soon he asks her to move in with him. Lisa (Diane Kruger, Helen of “Troy”) responds by telling him to meet her tomorrow in the park.  She doesn’t show up, appearing to vanish without a trace.  Two years later, after returning from an advertising job in New York, Matthew is seated in a restaurant, when suddenly he catches a glimpse of, whom he thinks is, the woman who broke his heart. He tries to follow her, but again she disappears. Although Matthew is now engaged to Rebecca (Jessica Pare) his boss’s sister, and he is supposed to be headed to China on a business deal, nothing seems to matter as Matthew becomes a man obsessed with finding his lost love. Two other characters, his best friend, and comic relief, Luke (Matthew Lillard, Scooby Doo 1and 2) with female problems of his own, and a strange dark haired beauty, claiming to be Lisa, all play a part in uncovering the truth.

To say more would be a spoiler. I’ll just add that how these people fit in the unraveling of the mystery is told through the use of flashbacks from each of their perspectives.

The story is told in a nonlinear fashion. It does have an intriguing premise with an atmospheric tone that is rightfully moody. But, it is hard keeping up with the bouncing time line.  Rather than putting all the pieces neatly together, the puzzle becomes a disjointed and confusing scenario not easy to comprehend, when all is said and done.  On top of that, various plot holes and implausible plot devices pop up everywhere. For instance, why couldn’t Lisa give Matthew an answer right then and there when he asked her to move in?  Her reaction and response was downright unrealistic an unbelievable, with no foundation whatsoever, other than being a plot device that sets the stage for her disappearing act.  I would also like to know what happened with the “stalker” guy who was obviously written into the script to misdirect us for a minute or so. His character gets dropped as if he never existed.  I hate when that happens!

In this day and age, everyone communicates via cell phone. Yet, Lisa and Matthew send messages to one another by hand written notes. Are we truly supposed to believe neither owned a cell phone?  Give me a break!

The bland performance by Hartnett and the pretty, and even more wooden Kruger, are snooze worthy.  Better actors would help, especially if they have chemistry, which these two lack.  If you want the best reason to see this film it is for the enigmatic performance by beautiful Rose Byrne who bears a striking resemblance to a younger Monica Bellucci, the original film’s star.

That is not to say that I don’t like the underlying theme about obsession and the crazy things love makes some people do.  Unfortunately, because it takes a lot of tedious effort trying to stay focused on what is happening, it is just too easy to get lost in Wicker Park.