Much as a shopkeeper in the movie sloshes the trimmings of dead fish
onto the streets of New York right at the feet of a couple who's love
is just beginning to bloom. This is fine metaphor for the premise of
this film at several different levels. The movie does this kind of
thing well. A slow-moving goldfish in a tank too big for him is a
symbol of life spent alone. A Porsche with a squished fender
symbolizes the fleeting quality of material goods.
Still, this picture lacks oomph. It is as if puzzle pieces were
pushed into slots that don't quite fit. Contrived scenes and dialogue
are juxtaposed against a subject that begs for a more artistic brush.
Toward the end, "Company" feels like a very long, wet noodle. Even
lovely Johansson plays (or is directed) to keep her light under a
bushel. The screenplay establishes her as a young woman of substance
-- she is a winning tennis player, a student with ambition.
Nevertheless, her lines are mostly insipid, her face expressionless.
I suspect that this PG-13-rated movie has been over-critiqued. You
know how Los Angeles residents are invited to attend free movies so
they can weigh in on what they think about films? The movie-makers
then inflate and snip until they have pleased everyone. This one
would have been better if the moguls had just let it be what it
wanted to be, a nice, quiet movie with integrity.
At its core it is a thoughtful examination of the age-old problems
of ethics vs. responsibility, new values vs. old, and the
difficulties generations face as they try to glean the best from them
both. The result was not impeccable, but I'm glad someone made the
effort. The defects in it disappoint but they won't lay waste to your
nice evening at the theater.
* Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an author based in Glendale.
'Elektra' shorts out
I wish I could say "Elektra" was a bad movie because a bad movie
is at least memorable, whereas this one is simply forgettable. It
plods from one contrived plot device to the next, hoping that the
sight of Jennifer Garner in a skin-tight red suit will make up for