BREAKFAST ON PLUTO (Neil Jordan). 135 min. Opens Friday (December 16). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Looking for someone to helm a romantic comedy? Forget Neil Jordan . Got a great blockbuster summer pic? Jordan ain't your man. Gay Irishman trying to find himself? Now you're talking.
So how come his depiction of happy-go-lucky transvestite Patrick "Kitten- Brady's ( Cillian Murphy ) misadventures in 60s London is so much of a (groan) drag?
Don't blame Murphy, whose cheekbones alone deserve an Oscar; he gives Kitten all the believability, conviction and pluck of the hapless but not helpless heroine Kitten believes herself to be. Given Murphy's recent screen-stealing roles as two of filmdom's more memorable villains in Batman Begins and Red Eye, it's a fascinating transformation, relying on more than just fluttering eyelashes and fabulous girlie gams.
Add Jordan's usual stable of Irish talent Liam Neeson as a parish priest, Stephen Rea as a sweetly sly magician and you know the supporting cast isn't the problem either.
That Kitten's journey from naïf to cabaret singer to presumed killer really happened is proof that true life is stranger than fiction. Jordan has not only made the latter odder he's made it dull. The unevenly directed film jumps from campy moments (bad pop songs and a cartoon robins) to tragic scenes, with just plain melodrama everywhere else.
At two and a half hours, nobody is sticking around for this breakfast.