Wong Kar-Wai, director of the sublime In the Mood for Love, has made his first film in English, though from the stiltedness of his script you may wish he'd stuck to Mandarin.
It's basically a series of connected vignettes that kick off with heartbroken Norah Jones bonding over a blueberry pie one night with Jude Law's New York café owner. Then she hits the road, sending him postcards about the not-very-fascinating encounters she has as a waitress – a sozzled cop (David Strathairn), his blowsy wife (Rachel Weisz), a tough poker player (Natalie Portman).
The director's eye is absorbed by Americana – diners, Cadillacs, casinos, pies – in the same way as Wim Wenders, and his photographer Darius Khondji films it all in a woozy poetic style that's very like a superior music video. But the hard-luck stories it peddles are so fey and feeble that irritation quickly sets in.
If Kar-Wai wanted a Tom Waits mood, he should have got Tom Waits to write the script, instead of himself and Lawrence Block. Jones is perfectly fine in her screen debut, but Law, doing another "Northern" accent every bit as tin-eared as his one in Sleuth, has become a liability. It's a good-looking picture, admittedly, but it is also fantastically boring.
Watch the 'My Blueberry Nights' trailer