Magazine article The Spectator

Still Stood Time

Magazine article The Spectator

Still Stood Time

Article excerpt

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

12A, Nationwide

The most curious thing about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is that it could receive 13 Oscar nominations when it is such tedious schmaltz, and not just any tedious schmaltz. This is the worst kind of tedious schmaltz; the kind that doesn't even have the decency or good manners to go on for only 90 minutes or so.

This tedious schmaltz is 165 minutes. This tedious schmaltz should have been taken outside and given a good talking to within the first five minutes. (Just pack it in, will you? ) The story, here, is all to do with time not behaving as it's supposed to and I'm telling you, an hour in you are going to think time has actually stopped. I know I did. The only thing it brings to the party, aside from its tedious, schmaltzy self, is a succession of characters who would be fascinating if they weren't all such types: the kindly black momma; the drunken Irish sea captain; the sex-starved yet married English woman.

This last stereotype always gets me. I am a married English woman and I am not sexstarved. Heck, as it is, my husband and I are even planning on having a twosome one of these days. (I'm nervous, but quite excited, too. ) Adapted from a slender, F. Scott Fitzgerald short story with a screenplay by Eric Roth who, amazingly, also wrote Forrest Gump, and directed by David Fincher who, amazingly, also directed Fight Club and Panic Room, it is about a man who is born old and then ages backwards, gets younger and younger until he becomes as gloriously handsome as the Brad Pitt who plays him and then declines back towards infancy and death. It's the sort of tale that requires not so much that you suspend belief, more that you whack it out of sight for all time, and, being a literal minded person of almost no imagination -- this is why, fantasy wise, the twosome is such a big step for me -- it's already not exactly my kind of thing.

However, it could have worked, had it ever snapped to life, but it doesn't. It just goes on and on and on and on and on and on.

And on. You may even shake your watch to check it is still going. I know I did.

Anyway, to cut an indecently long story short -- for which you should worship me and take me out to dinner and then leave me all your money -- it opens in 1918 and the night Benjamin, the ugliest, most wrinkled baby you ever did see, is born and then rightly (who wouldn't? ) abandoned by his father on the steps of a New Orleans retirement home where he is taken in by Queenie, the kindly black momma who works there. …

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