Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Posted April 9, 2009 in Film

Too busy for three mediocre movies? Watch Rawson Marshall Thurber’s gonzo drama—a coming-of-age Mafia bisexual love triangle that isn’t good, but it’s certainly, well, simultaneously bizarre and trite. Sienna Miller and Peter Sarsgaard play Jane and Cleveland, one of fiction’s bright, burning couples who fill up all the space in the bar, but like Venus have a curious vacuum at their core that wants to pull in a random bystander. That would be Art Bechstein (Jon Foster), a miserable, handsome cipher so obsessed with his own inessentiality he doesn’t notice all his co-workers at the bookstore are totally jealous he’s banging his boss (Mena Suvari). Set in Pittsburgh—or at least, an alternate reality version of Steel City forged by inanity—Thurber’s movie wants us to believe that a three-way romance between a poetic biker, a Southern belle violinist and the dull son of a mob mastermind is a distillation of all the beauty and cruelty in the world, and not just an excuse for a dozen sex scenes and some ponderous narration. Thurber drafted his script on the original novel by the talented Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), which makes me want to read the novel only to see how on earth that could be true. Teetering on so-bad-it’s-hilarious, the flick is almost worth a watch as a double-feature of nonsense wisdom with the Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren cancer hitman romance Shadowboxer. (Amy Nicholson)


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