Cinebanter

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Monday, May 12, 2008

SIFF Sighting: MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE (comedy, USA)

Note: I'll be periodically posting reviews from the Seattle International Film Festival throughout June. These write-ups will begin with "SIFF Sighting" so you'll always be able to distinguish them from our regular posts. And of course, for our most recent Cinebanter episode, please scroll down the page.

Sometimes taking a trip with friends is a great idea, but other times you know before you get there that you should've never gone in the first place.

That's how I felt watching MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE, starring Sean Nelson and Basil Harris.

The story begins with writers block--both for its main character and its screenwriter apparently.

A Jonah Hill-ish novelist isn't making his deadline, isn't scoring a woman and isn't being a good friend to the person who seems as if he's the only friend he has. There is forced dialogue, an attempt at being quick-witted and awkward conversations. And that's all before we go to the woods of Eastern Washington.

What transpires is a guys' weekend in the mountains for apparently no purpose at all. The writer shows up uninvited at the cabin which belongs to the friend who can't stand him and there's an extra guy there too, who could be a boyfriend of the friend, but we're really not sure.

They drink, tell stupid jokes that feel as if they were there all along and the movie was written around them (not a good thing), and then go hunt a cougar. Yes, hunt a cougar.

Put simply, the film is a mess. Aside from the rare glimpses of beautiful Washington scenery, there isn't much worth seeing.

MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE will screen Monday, May 26 at 4:00 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater as part of the 34th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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