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by Willie Waffle

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A Love Song For Bobby Long

I love John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson for very different reasons. Travolta is one third of the Holy Trinity of Italian Actors, and a very cool dancer. Scarlett is a hot young babe. However, this chance to see them together in one movie has ended badly with my dreams of happiness and fulfillment dashed. With a great cast, the movie's script and story fail to make A Love Song For Bobby Long one to remember.

Johansson stars as Pursy - an 18-year old estranged from her mother, who has to return to New Orleans. Pursy's mother has died, and, when she arrives at the old family home, she discovers two men living there. The men - hunky writer Lawson (Gabriel Macht) and filthy, foul mouthed alcoholic Bobby (John Travolta) - were friends with the mother and granted part ownership of the house, so they could continue to live there.

Will the three be able to get along? Will Percy fall for the hunky writer?

Since A Love Song For Bobby Long features a movie-by-numbers plot, you can figure out everything that will happen while watching it. This makes the movie a waste of time and a huge waste of talent. Writer/director Shainee Gabel (based on the novel by Ronald Everett Capps) provides a very bland, boring, predictable story full of every cliché you can imagine. It's a story about redemption. It's a story about understanding. It's a story about how we can form new, non-traditional families. It's a story featuring a confused girl using toughness to keep the world at bay even though she really needs some parental guidance. It's a story with a big complication at the end. It's a story where the characters all have BIG secrets. It's two hours of boredom interrupted by an occasionally good scene.

Gabel seems to be afraid to do anything different or daring, and she fails to add a sense of whimsy and merriment that would make the film more like the after school special it strives to be. Worst of all, Gabel is trying so hard to prove she can capture scenic shots she fills the movie with meaningless, but beautiful, scenes of each character walking around New Orleans. Maybe her next job can be for the New Orleans Board of Tourism, which doesn't expect its movies to tell a story or move me. Gabel should have focused more on having the characters do stuff because good movies feature characters doing stuff.

Johansson, Travolta and Macht don't have the dialogue to make their characters interesting. Travolta has some fun stuff to do as the outlandish drunk, and seems to revel in his opportunity to have a southern accent and a messy wardrobe, but Johansson and Macht are left with an unexplored, plain, vanilla love story and a bunch of scenes where they have to react to Travolta. Macht has one moment when he could stand out, but Gabel chooses to let him tell the story in a boring way instead of showing us THE BIG SECRET. It's a movie, so show me don't tell me.

A Love Song For Bobby Long went on and on and on and on until I finally started to cry because it was so bad.

1 Waffle (Out Of 4)

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