Nights and Weekends 

2008

I have now watched my first film in the love-it-or-loathe-it "mumblecore" movement, which is characterized by a DIY aesthetic, improvised scripts and, apparently, utter boredom.

"Nights and Weekends" stars Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig (who also serve as its writers, directors and producers) as James and Mattie. They're in a long-distance relationship. He visits her; she visits him; and that's the extent of the "story." They discuss bananas. They buy a plastic mold of a lion. They have their photos taken. Don't miss the gripping plant-watering scene!

They also have a fair bit of unsimulated sex, which makes the dull film seem even less interesting, oddly enough. I don't consider myself a prude, but I have to wonder who wants to see Swanberg's erect member flopping around or Gerwig wiping her butt? I agree there is a place for that, but it's called the home movie, limited for an audience of two.

James and Mattie are whiny, needy, self-absorbed young people. I didn't care if they stayed together; I didn't care if they broke up; I only cared that a wrecking ball might suddenly burst through the apartment wall and take them both. It didn't.

Too bad, because they are agonizing to spend time with, and despite what the filmmakers would lead you to believe, their conversations and situations are not "real." The disengaging film is as artificial as, say, "Transformers," just in a manner that overdoses on its own pretentiousness.

Mumblecore's proponents may call it art. I call it lazy. —Rod Lott

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Rod Lott

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