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The Longest Week

The Longest Week
Despite handsome production values and exceptional performances, 2014's The Longest Week is a smug and pretentious black comedy with a talky screenplay, uneven direction, and one of the most reprehensible central characters I've seen in recent memory.

The film chronicles one week (complete with large annoying movie cards as documentation) in the life of one Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman). Conrad is a spoiled manchild who has never worked a day in his life, living a glamorous hotel owned by his parents. When Conrad's parents decide to divorce, Conrad gets thrown out of the hotel, without a clue about surviving on his own. He appears on the doorstep of his best friend, Dylan (Billy Crudup) who agrees to take him in no questions. Conrad pays back Dylan's kindness by romancing the woman that Dylan is interested in (Olivia Wilde).

Director/screenwriter Peter Glanz has provided us with a pretentious screenplay that seems to be fashioned after artists like Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, but his screenplay contains little of the subtlety associated with these other filmmakers. The actors almost seem to be fumbling with this overly wordy screenplay that seems to work overtime trying to talk above the viewer. He spends a lot of time pontificating over this really nasty central character who has little or no moral compass who actually is offered redemption in the final act which is completely unbelievable.

Glanz direction is a little better than his writing. He paints his story on a gorgeous Manhattan canvas and employs some inventive use of slow motion and the closeup. Unfortunately, the film moves at a snail's pace that makes it hard t stay committed. It should have been called "The Longest Movie."

Despite all of this, Jason Bateman turns in one of the most dazzling performances of his career as this truly hard to like guy Conrad and works well with Crudup, offering his accustomed crisp characterization as Dylan. Also enjoyed Tony Roberts as Conrad's shrink and Barry Primus as the family chauffeur, but this film is too impressed with itself to impress the viewer.