Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Albert Finney
Studio info: Twentieth Century Fox, 118 mins.
In A Good Year, Russell Crowe’s character knows that a stock’s price will peak when the line reaches the top of the computer screen, hence the smirk, hence the suit. “Sell,” he says with shamanic gravity. He then leaves his London boiler room for what he expects to be a brief trip to Provence, where he’s just inherited a chateau and vineyard from his uncle, played by Albert Finney.
The characters keep reminding us that the key to comedy—just like stock trading—is timing, but director Ridley Scott hasn’t taken the lesson. He undermines what humor and momentum the familiar story might otherwise allow by chopping the pastoral setting into headache-inducing celluloid confetti. Crowe looks like Benny Hill bumbling through France—ogling women, driving his tiny car in fast circles and turning vaguely misty when a whimsical ?ashback is due, which is often. His supply of quips and pratfalls is inexhaustible, even when he’s trapped at the bottom of a swimming pool surrounded by peat and dry leaves. Alas, he escapes.