Uptown Theatre, starts Friday

Focus Features


Uptown Theatre, starts Friday

Action-movie star Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), first seen doing laps in his black Ferrari, has no destination in Somewhere, Sofia Coppola's mood ring of celebrity lassitude. Coppola's fourth feature is, at times, similarly aimless and empty. But those who groan that the writer-director has made another indulgent film about the obscenely privileged have overlooked Coppola's redoubtable gifts at capturing milieu, languor, and exacting details. West Hollywood's Chateau Marmont, where Johnny lives, continues the role played by Tokyo's Park Hyatt in Lost in Translation and Versailles in Marie Antoinette: a pleasure palace where no request is too outlandish. For all the twin pole dancers Johnny can order up to his room, Coppola also shows the flip side of erotic abandon and concierge service in her portrait of the Chateau. But Coppola's bid for audience empathy for Johnny proves to be Somewhere's most insurmountable obstacle. Johnny's final-act epiphany grates; it's an unearned catharsis. Somewhere does find emotional ballast in Elle Fanning, playing Cleo, Johnny's daughter, who, though still a kid and eager for parental guidance, is also on the cusp of adulthood. Where Johnny's tears will make you roll your eyes, Cleo's will break your heart.

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