Patagonian landscapes in 16 mm and Hollywood real estate shot in 35 mm provide a visually sleek backdrop for mighty uninteresting relationships in the pretentious indie "Somewhere Beautiful." Commercials director Albert Kodagolian's debut feature intercuts two stories of sought-after male artists in romantic turmoil with pretty young things: an arrogant American photographer (Anthony Bonaventura) on an Argentina location shoot whose translator squeeze (María Alche) is rapidly losing interest; and in L.A., a hotshot filmmaker (Kodagolian) moping over his beautiful wife leaving him and their 2-year-old daughter.
It's as exquisitely insufferable as it sounds, from the retrograde view of women who care for/cater to/wring their hands over powerful men — do the women all have to look like models? — to the superficially cerebral, stilted rehashing of art-versus-life debates that were getting stale when Woody Allen began appropriating them from foreign films in the '70s. The credits fess up to the whole thing being an homage to Atom Egoyan's self-reflexive oddity "Calendar," without ever justifying its existence beyond that hat-tip.
At one point, Kodagolian addresses his own heritage as an Armenian-born Iranian with refugee camp memories, and a kernel of intrigue develops, until he cuts to who he's talking to — the fresh-faced, accommodating cosmetology student (Matilda Lutz) babysitting his child — and "Somewhere Beautiful" reverts to being the movie version of that navel-gazing bore at the party from whom you can't wait to escape.
Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Playing: Vintage Los Feliz 3