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"Mood Indigo": Michel Gondry Dazzles Us with Twee-D 

Wednesday, Jul 23 2014
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Boris Vian's 1947 novel L'Ecume des Jours (Froth on the Daydream) finds its way into movie form for the third time, froth very much intact, courtesy of French whimsy junkie Michel Gondry. Who better to reimagine that old surreal chestnut about a well-to-do young man, the inventor of a cocktail-making piano, marrying a woman with the peculiar life-threatening condition of a flower growing in her lung? Well, Mood Indigo is more tedious and less fun than Gondry's last movie, which is saying something because that one was a rambling conversation with Noam Chomsky. Theoretically it should help that his lead players here are Romain Duris and Audrey Tatou, known allies of the stridently cutesy, but they only really contribute by having enough stamina to withstand the director's manic shotgun blasts of arty gestures. Characters this cartoonish need simpler backgrounds, and no amount of rolling around in spazzy stop-motion animation, dancing on spindly puppet legs, or picnicking in a split-screen of sunny and rainy skies will get us to care more about them. This stuff makes Wes Anderson look like an ascetic. Frayed with lack of discipline from moment one, Gondry's frolic proceeds hastily from merry to morose before finally petering out. Can he even sit still long enough to feel anything?

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Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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