W.E., drowning in the boot of a 13%-Fresh rating at present, isn't as hateful as I'd expected, but I still had fun scrolling down the reviews list, which is kind of like sighting down a line of golf pros at the driving range. "Relentlessly monotonous" -- whock! "A pointless and pretentious oddity" -- whock! "A sloppy, hubristic affair" -- whock! "Vapid," "torpid," "abysmal" -- whock whock whock!
The flashbacks work better, with fantastic set design, mouth-watering outfits, and a snappy performance by Andrea Riseborough as Wallis. The sequences in the past aren't good, quite; James D'Arcy as Edward is a bore, and it takes the film too long to get to the abdication. But it's better than the present-day material, in which the love of a blue-collar cutie (Oscar Isaac, very good in Drive and better than W.E. deserves) solves Wally's life.
I sat there checking my watch and longing for other, better versions of W.E. -- Guy Pearce playing his King's Speech version of Edward, a documentary about the famous couple, anything but yet another "poignant" close-up of Wally creepily sniffing another woman's table linens.
Madonna really knows how to shoot a $5,000 floor lamp, I'll give her that, but it's too long, it's tone-deaf…I basically paid $13.50 to watch a live-action catalog, and it's not even bad enough to merit an MST3K viewing.
Sarah D. Bunting co-founded Television Without Pity.com, and has written for Seventeen, New York Magazine, MSNBC.com, Salon, Yahoo!, and others. She's the chief cook and bottle-washer at TomatoNation.com. For more on how the Oscars Death Race began, click here.
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