WORDS AND PICTURES (Fred Schepisi). 115 minutes. Opens Friday (July 4). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: N
Words And Pictures is an insufferable movie about insufferable people having a barely sufferable argument about whether words or pictures are the most powerful communication tool humans have developed.
This debate is pointless because art is subjective, but prep school teachers need something to do, so neither alcoholic poet Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) nor disabled painter Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche) will budge. After all, characters in romantic comedies must overcome obstacles before they can fall in love.
Gerald Di Pego (Angel Eyes, Phenomenon, Message In A Bottle) writes both of his leads as obnoxious variations on Hugh Laurie's crotchety, cutting Dr. House and seems utterly oblivious to the ugly parallels between a subplot about a sociopathic student (Arctic Air's Adam DiMarco) harassing a classmate (Motive's Valerie Tian) and Marcus's ostensibly charming pursuit of the depressive DelSanto.
Utilizing a burbling musical score, Fred Schepisi reminds us once again that he's incapable of making a bad script work. About halfway through, once I realized that was Vancouver standing in for patrician small-town Maine, I wondered if he was even trying.
Owen and Binoche dive into their repugnant characters with everything they've got, apparently confident no one will ever see the finished product.
Well, there's always hope.