An inebriated degenerate of an academic, a seemingly doomed prospective novelist and a doleful but glowing high school dropout. Oh, and some fine cinematography depicting the sublime New Orleans landscape. An unlikely blend in an overtly articulate and soggy screenplay.
Bobby Long (John Travolta) and his amicable sidekick Lawson (Macht), idle away in the suprisingly homely and artistic Big Easy. That is until their haven is rudely interrupted by Pursy (Scarlett Johansson), a daughter of their recently departed friend Lorraine, who happened to be the owner of their present dog-eared dwelling. Long informs Pursy that she is entitled to a third of the house. This revelation however comes with a slight snag - She has to agree to lodge with the bitter and perpetually liquored professor and his introspective yet constantly hindered biographer. The plot continues in the same comatose vein, with pleasant songs and tales and some insipid gags to fill in the spaces. Pursy contrives to make a nuisance of herself, all the while providing the absent relevance in the lives of the two men. They in turn, strive to help Pursy to reignite her stalled existence, by persuading her to resume her education.
A hokey script that draws a favourable parallel with the accent of the South, though still proving to be quite passable. Director Shainee Gabel in her debut venture, has saved herself some serious blushes by incorporating enchanting scenery along with three top drawer performers. Johansson brings back antique grace and class to modern day cinema, and coupled with her polished disposition, proves to be a genuine contender for actress of the next decade. Travolta as a lewd and crass schmuck, holds a vague but discernible aura, especially when the mellow facets of his character come into play. Macht's potrayal while decent and endearing, is intermediate in comparison, simply due to the nature of his character. The backdrop and tone in general, is authentic and a pure, unaduterated joy to behold.
Verdict : Exemplary performances and dazzling aesthetics thankfully disguise the apathetic texture of the script. - Abhishek Dey