Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Adam Arkin
Larry: The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can’t ever really know what’s going on. But even though you can’t figure anything out, you will be responsible for it on the midterm!
Larry Gopnik (Stuhlbarg) is facing a bit of an existential crisis while his kids are out of control, his wife wants to leave him, his neighbor is encroaching on his property, and a Korean student of his is trying to force Larry to give him an undeserved passing grade. Adding to the frustration is the fact that nobody seems to be able to help with any of the problems. Not his lawyer and not any of the Rabbi’s he talks to.
Well, this is an odd one. I’ve been right there with the Coen Brothers in most, if not all, of their movies that I’ve seen (I even liked The Hudsucker Proxy), but I’m not right there with this one. It’s as if they took every odd character and awkward moment from their other movies and tossed them all into one movie. The whole thing is just weird and meandering and not as funny as their films usually are.
It has a few good moments and some good performances, particularly by Stuhlbarg and Arkin, but it never pulled me into the story or even made much sense to me. Maybe I watched it a little too late at night, or maybe I’m just dense, but I didn’t get it.
What I can see is that Larry has been blindsided by a bunch of problems and is wondering why God would put him through all of this stuff. He looks for answers from a couple of Rabbis, but neither is much help. Although, maybe they would have been if Larry had just listened to them more closely. Instead, his frustration just grows and grows, and so did mine.
I’d love to say that I get what the Coens were going for here and that it was brilliant and powerful, but I didn’t. So I won’t. If anyone would like to explain it to me, feel free. Especially the beginning, with the dybbuk. What was that all about?
Dybbuks don’t eat, apparently.
10 – 4 for being frustratingly bizarre and abstract – .5 for being too repetitive at times + .1 for all around good performances = 5.6