A review of “Wicker Park” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: **

Rating: PG-13 for language and adult situations

Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

 

 

Josh Hartnett has been MIA for some time, choosing to forego his teen hunk status in favor of small, intimate projects that make him happy.  Nice for him, stinks for us.

Hartnett is in stereotypical form as all-around good guy Matt, a successful photographer on the cusp of professional greatness and a key business trip to Shanghai.  A gorgeous fiancé and fabulous digs complement his excellent life.

But, oops, Matt’s life isn’t such a bowl of cherries.  Seems he’s still haunted by the specter of ex-lover Lisa (Diane Kruger), a free-spirited dancer who jilted him and fled with her troupe to Paris.

A complicated series of flashbacks (and forwards and sideways) detail a torrid affair that generates the heat of an ice cube.  Matt foregoes his trip to China and begins to search for Lisa in earnest, only to find that the girl he’s been hunting is someone else altogether.

That someone else is Alex (Rose Byrne), Lisa’s friend and ubiquitous stalker chick.  Why is Alex posing as Lisa?  Why did Lisa leave Matt?  Why am I up past my bedtime asking why?

Intersecting narrative threads make for a tangled web they weave.  Matthew Lillard comes to the rescue as Matt’s buddy Luke, whose boyish naiveté lends comic relief where relief is imperative. 

Wicker Park offers a handful of pseudo-clever moments that manage carry it to its lengthy finish line.  But wooden performances (in particular pretty-face-turned-actress Kruger), bad musical choices (hello Coldplay) and one too many twists kill the good times.