Review: ‘Brief Interviews With Hideous Men’

'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men'

A misguided attempt to shift some raw ideas about the battle of the sexes from book to film.

“Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” reps a misguided attempt to shift some raw, if rarefied, ideas about the battle of the sexes from the printed page to the bigscreen. Thesp John Krasinski (“The Office”) has adapted a book by the late literary wunderkind David Foster Wallace into what largely amounts to a collection of monologues of men disclosing their innermost thoughts about women to Sara (Julianne Nicholson), who has been jilted by Krasinski’s character. It’s a very academic movie about academics that belongs in academia, not movie theaters. Piece as written might prove more successful as an Off-Broadway-style play.

Much of the film consists of men — identified as Subject #14, Subject #72 and so on — sitting in front of a white brick wall and relating intimate thoughts to their inquisitor, whose inquiry is motivated by her need to understand why her boyfriend dumped her. Action moves to cafes, parties and elsewhere from time to time, and the most dynamic figure onscreen is Dominic Cooper’s Daniel, who challenges Sara with some disturbing theories about abuse and victimhood. Pic has an elegant but very chilly nature.

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

Production

A Salty Features/Sunday Night production. Produced by Eva Kolodner, Yael Melamede, James Suskin, John Krasinski. Executive producer, Kevin Connors. Directed, written by John Krasinski, based on the book by David Foster Wallace.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor, widescreen), John Bailey; editor, Rich Fox; music supervisor, Linda Cohen; production designer, Stephen Beatrice; costume designer, Vicki Farrell. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 22, 2009. Running time: 78 MIN.

With

Julianne Nicholson, Will Arnett, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Cerveris, Josh Charles, Dominic Cooper, Frankie Faison, Will Forte, Ben Gibbard, Malcolm Goodwin, Timothy Hutton, John Krasinski, Christopher Meloni, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, Denis O'Hare, Clarke Peters, Lou Taylor Pucci, Ben Shenkman, Joey Slotnick, Corey Stoll.

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