In “The Longest Week,” veteran commercial director Peter Glanz channels the sensibility of Wes Anderson on a set that evokes Woody Allen’s opulent Uptown Manhattan, but the lack of originality is far from the film’s biggest sin.
Jason Bateman stars as Conrad Valmont, an ambitionless hotel heir who has been reared by the housekeeping staff in a cushy suite. The sudden split between his parents leaves him cut off and displaced, but that’s apparently not enough to slow down his merry-go-round of women, parties, therapy and drinking — or to diminish his sense of entitlement. Conrad crashes with self-made artist pal Dylan (Billy Crudup) and proceeds to lure away his romantic interest, fashion model Beatrice (Olivia Wilde).
For his first feature, Glanz borrows liberally from Anderson: from Larry Pine’s story-time narration to the book-chapter title cards, to Ben Kutchins’ symmetrical photography, to archaic props like typewriters, rotary phones, tape recorders and Vespas. The homage comes off as rather tone-deaf, given that the story of a grown-up spoiled brat hardly makes for a fable about a prince exiled from his kingdom.
Like so many filmmaking wunderkinds who could have used a course in common sense, Glanz is technically assured but emotionally hollow. His depiction of the insular obliviousness of the privileged aside, “The Longest Week” suggests that heartache makes for a better ingredient in humble pie than does financial ruin. The Joni Mitchell lyrics “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” apply here strictly to love and not money.
“The Longest Week”
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sexual content and smoking.
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.
Playing: At Los Feliz 3, Los Angeles. Also on video-on-demand.