×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Entanglement’

A suicidal man falls in love with the woman who once might have been his adopted sister in Jason James’ tonally uneven romantic comedy.

Director:
Jason James
With:
Thomas Middleditch, Jess Weixler, Diana Bang, Randal Edwards, Marilyn Norry, Eric Keenleyside, Johannah Newmarch, Jena Skodje.
Release Date:
Feb 9, 2018

1 hour 25 minutes

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3534294/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

It’s difficult for a film to be charming when it’s so busy being preposterous — although in the case of “Entanglement,” a distinct lack of energy and tonal control are also to blame. Incapable of striking a surefooted balance between character-drama gravity and romantic-comedy whimsicality, director Jason James’ sophomore feature (following 2013’s “That Burning Feeling”) delivers a portrait of depression, love and the intertwined nature of life that’s strained to the point of snapping. Even the best efforts of the reliably amusing Thomas Middleditch can’t salvage this consistently unconvincing misfire.

“Entanglement” starts grimly, with Middleditch’s divorcé Ben writing a letter (which he narrates) while James’ camera follows a hose from the exhaust pipe of a running car all the way up to Ben’s second-floor apartment. The vehicle’s departure foils that particular suicide attempt, but Ben proceeds on a path of self-destruction until a buzzer compels him to answer the door — a decision that stymies his fatal plans. Six months later, he’s visiting a child psychologist (Johannah Newmarch) and explaining to his neighbor Tabby (Diana Bang) his theory of quantum entanglement, which stipulates that every choice a person makes creates new realities. Ben believes that if he can find the past decision that sent his life spiraling out of control, he can right his course and live happily ever after.

No sooner has Ben expressed this view than he’s informed by his father (Eric Keenleyside) that his parents once adopted a girl, only to immediately return her after discovering they were pregnant with Ben. Certain that having a sibling would have made everything hunky-dory, Ben sets out on a quest to find this unknown almost-sister. As contrivances would have it, his investigation leads him straight to Hanna (Jess Weixler), the sassy and sexy woman who, days earlier, approached Ben at the local pharmacy and gave him her number. Before long, she’s also opining about quantum entanglement — in particular, spinning particles that are identical and intertwined, except that they’re polar opposites. Moreover, she’s stealing Ben’s wallet, breaking into swimming pools with him and undressing for him, all in a way that makes it painfully clear she’s too good to be true.

From these clues alone, it’s easy to guess what’s really going on between idealized fantasy-angel Hanna and mentally unstable Ben, though far more frustrating than the film’s obviousness is its uneasy blend of despair and absurdity. Jason Filiatrault’s script freely flip-flops between asking us to take Ben’s misery seriously and to exalt in cutesy scenes involving CGI-animated deer, swarms of glowing jellyfish, talking-bear puppets and conversations between Ben and his middle finger-flipping mirror image. The result of each competing mode is to negate the other’s effectiveness, as well as the wannabe-funny banter shared by Ben and Tabby, and Ben and a young girl (Jena Skodje) who’s a patient of the same psychologist.

Middleditch’s sad-sack routine turns Ben into a mopey drag, and though Weixler’s breath-of-fresh-air liveliness helps offset the gloom, it’s not enough to make up for the film’s general absence of mystery or laughs — or for the fact that, in this context, “quantum entanglement” is just a fancier way of saying “fate.” Like James’ direction, full of off-center and oddly angled compositions that aren’t warranted by the action, “Entanglement” dresses up familiar romantic-comedy themes with affected gimmicks to jumbled ends.

Film Review: ‘Entanglement’

Reviewed online, Stamford, Conn., Feb. 8, 2018. Running time: 85 MIN.

Production: A Dark Stars Pictures release of a Resonance Films and Goodbye Prods. production in association with Thunderbird Films, Telefilm Canada and the Harold Greenberg Fund. Producers: Amber Ripley, Jason James. Executive producers: Jhod Cardinal, Tim Gamble, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith.

Crew: Director: Jason James. Screenplay: Jason Filiatrault. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): James Liston. Editors: Gareth C. Scales, Christopher Watson, Jamie Alain. Music: Andrew Harris.

With: Thomas Middleditch, Jess Weixler, Diana Bang, Randal Edwards, Marilyn Norry, Eric Keenleyside, Johannah Newmarch, Jena Skodje.

More Film

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe's The Lighthouse' Wins Cannes Critics' Award

    Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, won the Cannes Film Festival critics’ award for best first or second feature in Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, one of the first prizes for which “The Lighthouse” has been eligible at Cannes. The award was announced Saturday in Cannes by the Intl. Federation of [...]

  • promenade Cannes Croisette Cannes Placeholder

    Cannes Market Claims Record Visitor Numbers

    The Cannes Market, the Cannes Film Festival’s commercial wing, says that its 2019 edition welcomed a record number of participants. It reported 12,527 attendees. The largest group by nationality was from the U.S. with 2,264 participants, followed by France with 1,943 participants, and the U.K. 1,145. Comparable figures for 2018 were not available. The number [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Alien' at 40: Ridley Scott Explains Why 'You Don't Show the Monster Too Many Times'

    It’s difficult to imagine Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” without the clear-minded, strong presence of Tom Skerritt as Dallas, the captain of the ill-fated Nostromo. But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content