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The Majestic

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Majestic

Starring: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau
Director: Frank Darabont
Rated: PG
RunTime: 154 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy

*Also starring: Amanda Detmer, Laurie Holden, Bob Balaban, Ron Rifkin, David Ogden Stiers, Hal Holbrooke, Matt Damon

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

I know Frank Capra's work (IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE), and no matter how hard he tries in THE MAJESTIC, Frank Darabont (THE GREEN MILE) is no Frank Capra. Not even close. Never able to create genuine characters that you care about, Darabont takes what is designed to be a weeper and turns it into an emotionally dead movie.

In his worst performance ever, Jim Carrey stars as Peter Appleton, a B-movie writer who is dating a B-movie actress. They have just wrapped up their latest film, SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA. Peter's work may not be headliner material, but the income is enough for him to live the Hollywood high life. Carrey, who might ironically get his first Oscar nomination for this schmaltzy sort of role that the Academy loves, has been brilliant in films from THE MASK to THE TRUMAN SHOW. But, in THE MAJESTIC, he has only two expressions, mildly happy and mildly sad.

It's the 1950s, and there's a Communist witch hunt underway. Peter is incorrectly put on a blacklist, but before he can clear his name, an accident occurs which produces amnesia. After the tragedy, he ends up in a small town, where he is taken to be a war hero named Luke Trimble, the son of Harry Trimble (Martin Landau), the owner of the derelict Majestic theater. Peter, as the son who has been gone for nine-and-one-half years, manages to pass the few tests he is given, so everybody assumes that he must actually be Luke. It's too bad that Michael Sloane's screenplay didn't place some doubts in our mind rather than spelling it out who he was. Why not start the story after the accident and let us wonder about his identity?

"Do you remember me?" Adele Stanton (Laurie Holden), Luke's ex-girlfriend, asks the man she hopes is Luke. "No, but I'll sure try," Peter, who thinks he might be Luke, responds earnestly. The worst of the casting is of exceedingly bland Laurie Holden as the female lead.

Luke, as the once dead war hero, becomes the toast of the town. Violins play long slow notes in the background as he saunters around town. "You standup for a cause," Luke says, in one of his many clichéd lines, while in a military cemetery with a field of crosses. "You get mowed down." Cue the violins again.

The film appears to move at half-speed, making its two-and-one-half hour running time seem especially long. Actually, it would be something of a misnomer to say that this movie has a running time, since it just crawls.

The tearjerker ending tries and fails miserably to be stirring and patriotic. THE LAST CASTLE pulled it off marvelously, but THE MAJESTIC's ending is awkward and stagy. There is a glut of films this Christmas season, and only a few of them are worth your hard earned dollars. This isn't one.

THE MAJESTIC runs a long 2:30. It is rated PG for "language and mild thematic elements" and is acceptable for all ages, although most kids will likely be bored

My son Jeffrey, age 12, didn't like the movie and gave it * 1/2. He said that he didn't care about any of the characters and that the movie dragged on and on.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes

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