"Margot at the Wedding"
Directed by Noah Baumbach.
Written by Noah Baumbach.
Starring Nicole Kidman, Zane Pais, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 11/25/07
Noah Baumbach made a really funny movie
"The Squid and the Whale" a couple of years ago; it was so funny
that his script was nominated for an Oscar. That said, it
would be an understatement to acknowledge that, after working with
Wes Anderson on
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", Baumbach is a talent on
the rise...and, with his new film "Margot at the Wedding", I am sad
to report that this promise may be overstated, because I thought it
was absolutely fucking atrocious.
Nicole Kidman stars at Margot, a
dysfunctional celebrity writer from Manhattan who brings her son
Claude (Zane Pais) to visit Margot's sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason
Leigh), who is getting married to a deadbeat artist/writer named
Malcolm (Jack Black). I will admit, this premise has promise,
except that to tell you more would ruin the movie for you because
everything else that happens is so weird, so empty, and--even I
can't understand this--so poorly lit that a few people got up and
left the theater during my showing...and, this was during a
I could tell that many of the film's lines
were meant to be funny, but I was shocked to see how unfunny so much
of the film was; the Margot character seems to be meant to be
ridiculous and illogical, but this is never completely explained and
it makes you wonder why anyone would want to keep this woman around;
even Black can only make a couple of these scenes funny; the editing
of "Margot at the Wedding"--much like Baumbach's last
film--is so random that scenes end where there
is clearly room for more explanation, or laughs, or occasionally
good drama; Pais just isn't as good as Jesse Eisenberg was as the
older son in "The Squid and the Whale", and Pais hurts this new
movie in the long run; I can't say this often, but John Turturro--the
man who gave us Jesus Quintana from "The Big Lebowski", amongst a
hundred other memorable roles--is wasted in his few precious moments
of screen time; the list goes on and on.
But, what surprised me the most wasn't how
bad the film was, although that was shocking; it was that I was
staring intently at the screen the whole time just hoping that this
horseshit would get better, and it never did. And then, it's
over. I am excited to go online now to read positive reviews
of this movie, to see how real movie critics could possibly justify
any of this as even remotely decent. Damn, this shit was bad.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard