A quirky, arty movie 'My Blueberry Nights' may be but that's about it. The promise that comes with its all-star cast carries a heavy burden, one which serves only to weigh this film down.
Elizabeth (Jones) is heartbroken. She is pining for a love lost and is refusing to move on with her life, choosing instead to stand on the pavement outside the home of her one-time lover and gaze at his window. Occasionally, she drags herself away to visit a small local café (in New York), run by Manchester-born Jeremy (Law), even enlisting his help with her romantic affairs by asking him to hang on to her spare keys, should her ex arrive looking for them or her. And as she returns to check on the status of the keys she begins to form an odd relationship with the cheeky Jeremy, who insists on feeding her leftover blueberry pie each night.
Everything is going swimmingly until one day Elizabeth ups and leaves town - trading under various names as she makes her way around the country, picking up jobs in diners, cafés, bars and casinos as she goes. Along the way, she meets an array of weird and wonderful characters, each of whom impacts upon her life in both positive and negative ways. There's Arnie (Strathairn) - the drunk cop, his wife Sue Lynn (Weisz) – the feisty heartbreaker and Leslie (Portman) – the gambler. All the while, Elizabeth continues to send postcards home to Jeremy, who hangs on her every word but fails to ever make contact with her because she moves from place to place so quickly.
Apart from the fact that precious little happens, 'My Blueberry Nights' has a number of failings. There's no accountability for the characters, who can draw guns in bars and yet dodge arrest or even caution for such offences. A lot of the characters also lack believability - could anyone be as truly naïve as Norah Jones' character? Would Jude Law's cheeky chap be left sitting on the shelf, waiting for a relative stranger to return to him? Would he even want to wait given the vague nature of his relationship with the runaway girl?
What it all comes down to really is one question – do we care? And sadly the answer has to be "not much". This movie is slow-moving to a fault, relies too heavily on your engagement with the characters' personal struggles and neglects the fact that most of the characters aren't ever that enthralling. For his part, David Strathairn plays drunken cop Arnie with real gusto but his appearance is fleeting and his storyline somewhat disappointing.
When asked what's wrong with the consistently leftover blueberry pie at his café, Jude Law's character says: "There's nothing wrong with the blueberry pie, just people make other choices." Much like the pie, you'd be well advised to make another choice here. This movie feels very much like visual leftovers. It might not have been what you wanted to see in the first place, maybe you settled because there was nothing else on the bill - and you will most likely leave feeling less than satisfied and sure in the notion that first impressions are generally right.