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The Longest Week
Genre Comedy

The Longest Week is one of those movies that is so caught up in trying to be something it's not, that it loses its audience in the process. This is the work of Peter Glanz, whose admiration for Woody Allen and Wes Anderson have turned into the unwanted love child that is The Longest Week.

The story follows the affluent and aimless Conrad Valmont (Bateman), whose wealthy estranged parents left his upbringing to the hotel staff. In the space of a week, he's disinherited, evicted from his life of leisure and falls victim to that little thing called love.

The lead character's story is dangerously close to The Grand Budapest Hotel and while it could be sheer coincidence, the parallels thicken as Glanz tries to imitate the world of Wes Anderson. While beautiful and elegant in style, it lacks the small world details, off-beat comedy and quaint tone of a Wes Anderson film.

Anderson's fuzzy films have their own camp charm and old world fashion. While heartwarming-to-twee, his films are somewhere between an ant farm and a wedding cake, operating at a delightfully superficial level while simultaneously drawing a feeling of adorable nostalgia from its audience. Trying to mimic this state without coming across as phony is difficult if you are Wes Anderson, and even more so if you aren't.

Yet, Glanz isn't only making a bad copy of a Wes Anderson film, he's also attempting to replicate the quirky New York romantic comedy of Woody Allen. It's intermittently amusing, but not nearly as funny, charming, quirky or smart as a Woody Allen film. Instead it's detached, superficial and lost in a hollow chasm as it toys with dysfunctional and unlikable characters.

Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde and Billy Crudup make up an accomplished cast, but they deliver mostly insincere and distant performances. Bateman doesn't have his usual knowing twinkle, Olivia Wilde is flat-footed and Crudup works hard to generate some steam. You get the impression that The Longest Week jinxed itself by leaning so heavily on its copycat intentions from the get-go.

To alienate us even further, the dialogue is vapid, pawing at philosophical quips in an attempt to add substance. While technically proficient, you don't care for the characters, whose selfish motives keep us at an arm's length. Apart from one or two promising moments, The Longest Week is a dull style-over-substance slog and feels much longer than its 86 minute run time.

The bottom line: Phony

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