THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU is just as bad as its pathetic poster
would lead you to believe. This laughless and smileless dud is by Wes
Anderson, a director with a single good movie (RUSHMORE) to his name. His
last Christmas offering, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, was painfully bad. In
contrast, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU is as dead as a doornail. It's
the type of movie in which the image of a three-legged dog hopping along is
about as close to being funny as the story ever gets.
This instantly forgettable film is a spoof on the Jacques Cousteau type of
nature series. Usually reliable actor Bill Murray, who gave the best
performance of last year in LOST IN TRANSLATION, plays the eponymous Steve
Zissou. Murray's performance is so dry that it must have sucked the
moisture out of the air on the set. But, it's not his fault. He clearly
does exactly what the director wants.
Other members of Team Zissou aboard the ship Belafonte include Willem Dafoe,
with a hammy German accent, as a sensitive sailor named Klaus Daimler and
Owen Wilson as Ned Plimpton, a copilot for Kentucky Air who may be the son
that Steve never knew he had.
The movie is punctuation with dumb titles, such as, "Rescuing the Bond
Company Stooge." There are several gratingly loud songs that enliven the
tale by making the audience grimace. The movie appears to be trying to be
stupid fun but ends up being merely stupid instead -- and deadly dull. It
certainly has earned a place on my worst of the year list.
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU runs 1:58. It is rated R for "language,
some drug use, violence and partial nudity" and would be acceptable for
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes