The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is an adaptation of Michael Chabon’s 1988 novel of the same name. It is directed by Rawson Michael Thurber, the man who gave the world that great cinematic masterpiece Dodgeball. Really, I kid. I thought Dodgeball was only intermittently funny, with long stretches that were dull as a Kansas prairie. Thurber’s new movie makes Dodgeball look like Citizen Kane. It is pretentious, boring and as clichéd as they come. It is stuffed with copious drinking, gun-toting gangsters, bare-breasted women and casual bi-sexuality, but it’s as inert and lifeless as a cadaver. The protagonist played by, Jon Foster, is a wimpy non-entity, a blank slate of a leading man, sort of a ball-less Ben Affleck with less acting range. Any action is further undermined by a cheesy voiceover, where Chabon’s flowery prose, unmoored from the page, kills any developing drama. Sienna Miller and Mena Suvari are the token females in the film, under-written caricatures with cleavage. Only Peter Sarsgaard shines as the bi-sexual sociopath, Cleveland. Stick with Chabon’s original novel or rent Dodgeball.
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Peace Arch Home Entertainment. 95 min. Rated R. List Price $29.99. Releases Aug. 4.