4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
UNEVEN, BUT PACKED TO THE GILLS WITH GOOFS & GAFFES,
This review is from: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou [DVD] (DVD)Whether it's a character study in midlife detachment or a nudge-nudge-wink-wink take on cheesy 70s style Jacques Cousteau productions, The Life Aquatic never makes a pretense of being anything less than kooky.
Yet, for all its ostensible insincerity, it never comes across as an attempt to play us cheaply. We keep watching because it's hard to keep a straight face at the sight of Zissous Inc. The 'jokes' are sporadic and borderline moronic but thankfully punctuated frequently by Anderson's trademark brilliance in the script.
Rushmore's success hinged on the depth of its protagonist and how much we ended up rooting for him. That's the beauty of our good marine folk in Aquatic, spotlighted without a tangible spinal plot.
An ageing Bill Murray is Zissou, no one else in the whole industry can embody deadpan irony with such gumption. The rest of the zany crew includes several A-listers, each accorded a hint of a subplot: an allegedly long-lost illegitimate son (Owen Wilson); a pregnant journalist, whose baby will be "eleven and a half in twelve years", shuttling her cautious affections between father and son (Cate Blanchett); a funny German sidekick who craves to be on the "A Team" (William Dafoe in a most unusual role); an estranged yet oddly supportive vamp of a wife (Angelina Houston); a beleagured research rival (Jeff Goldblum). There's even a band of Filipino pirates.
Best of show however belongs to a swarm of beguilingly nonsensical candy-colored sea critters (very vivid CGI there) and the grand finale aboard a peculiar underwater stealth pod.
Mind you, it's all a jaunty departure from the mainstream so if you expecting a film with clearcut introduction-body-conclusion and overt jokes of the Something About Mary variety, you're in for disappointment. Hence the 4 stars.
But if you can handle a refreshing loaf from the lives of highly irregular folk, buttered with hints of amusing dialogue, then I recommend this oddity in a blink.