Depending on how much abstract thought the viewer is willing to engage in, (Untitled) is either an astoundingly brilliant meditation on the vacuous essence of popular contemporary art, or a dreadful mess, the cinematic equivalent of “my six-year-old could do this.” Perhaps with this in mind, the filmmakers have provided a product so devoid of entertainment that it virtually guarantees 90 minutes of awkward silence in which to nurture the audience’s ruminations on the film’s deeper meaning and inherent worth. Given enough time and tedium, the human mind can transform a piece of string into a transcendent statement on the essence of existence, and thus it is possible to conjure an analysis of (Untitled) that invokes the confluence of form and content and congratulates the film for demonstrating the very principles of aesthetic deficiency which it purports to critique. But the simpler, more immediate reaction is that (Untitled) is uninspired, unenlightening, unsurprising, and painfully unfunny. It represents the worst of that embarrassing hybrid, the indie blockbuster, wherein carefully composed aphorisms and feigned irreverence replace car chases and explosions as the punctuation to each scene. The film stridently tries and consistently (often spectacularly) fails to milk tired laughs from sitcom-level antics. The attempts at hilarity include an avant-garde musician who repeatedly practices kicking a steel bucket, a pretentious art collector who (get this!) can’t quite figure out how to use his high-tech cell phone, an artist who is crushed to death by a stuffed cow, and a woman who sings… in German! The best that can be said of the cast is that they are acting as hard as they can, which is not a compliment. The exception is Adam Goldberg, who acts as little as possible. Goldberg refuses to alter his misanthropic scowl throughout the film, making it impossible to accept the already incredulous idea that a gorgeous woman would throw herself into bed with him. The most disturbing aspect of the cast is their color, or lack thereof. Every person with a speaking role is white -- all of them. The dearth of diversity is such that, when a black or Asian extra strolls through a gallery scene, they stand out like the human host of The Muppet Show. An optimist might posit that the minority actors simply had better taste in scripts. One character declares, “If the critics hate it, it means that something interesting is going on.” In that case, (Untitled) is absolutely rapturous.
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- Released: 2009
- Rating: R
- Review: Depending on how much abstract thought the viewer is willing to engage in, (Untitled) is either an astoundingly brilliant meditation on the vacuous essence of popular contemporary art, or a dreadful mess, the cinematic equivalent of “my six-year-old could… (more)