Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 December 2009

Zac Efron and Orson Welles

I wasn't really bored by Me and Orson Welles so much as I am not quite sure what the whole thing was about.

As far as I can tell, Me and Orson Welles was one long theatre joke. The film is about a young aspiring performer who gets serendipitously cast as a minstrel in Welles' legendary 1937 modern-dress production of Julius Caesar. Christian McKay plays Welles, and actors play Joseph Cotton and John Houseman and all kinds of other famous people. In addition, about a billion names are dropped in the film. So many, in fact, that you'd have to be a theatre historian to get all of the references in Me and Orson Welles. I might be exaggerating a bit, but my point is that the film trades on theatre and movie in-jokes and does so with a wink.

(To be fair, one of my favorite moments in the movie is a reference to The Third Man where Joseph Cotton steps out of the shadows to give Zac Efron some advice.)

So, Zac Efron. I love him. The thing is, he is kinda... well... bad in this movie. I mean, he is cute, he steals focus, you always look at him when he is onscreen, even when he isn't in the center of the frame. But, he doesn't always know how to read his lines. And he doesn't quite know how to get a laugh. Oh, well. He is pretty, anyway.

Me and Orson Welles is a weird Richard Linklater film. It is a whimsical little thing with very little substance. Watching Orson Welles chew scenery is fun, and theatre jokes are cute, but the whole thing had worn rather thin for me by the end.

I should mention, however, that James Tupper, who plays Joseph Cotton, gives a really great performance. He was my favorite thing in the movie.