La La Land

La La Land ★★½

Cavin: I'm sorry.

Watching this film, I felt nothing at all.

Chazelle's penchant for a strong, singular tone worked great for "Whiplash," but here he shoots himself in the foot by making a movie so relentlessly, overbearingly fluffy and pleasant that it can't pull off any of the more complicated emotions it ultimately wants to get to. (It doesn't help that the way it tries to get to them is through a half-baked rip-off of the much better "Umbrellas of Cherbourg.") I think its heart is in the right place, but its thematic ambitions go nowhere and are so vapid that it comes off as disingenuous. It's not ever outright bad. It's just never actually good.

The glib version: More like Bla Bla Bland, amirite?!

P.S. Yes, it's technically impressive and the colors are genuinely real purty, and my 2.5 stars are for that. If only that sense of joy was rooted in something; as is, it just feels like a big, empty artifice.

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