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Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

  Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Written by: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, GZA, Cinqué Lee, Joie Lee, Alfred Molina, Iggy Pop, RZA, Tom Waits, Jack White, Meg White, Steven Wright
Links: Coffee and Cigarettes on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Out of caffeine jokes" - a review by em_fiction

Films based on conversation are a favourite of mine. Films like Clerks (1994), Tape (2001), Before Sunrise (1995) and its sequel, Before Sunset (2004), are examples of great gabfests. Now, Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes is made up of nine cute little black-and-white conversational shorts, comprising of an all-star cast discussing numerous nonsensical topics while (shock!) drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Some of the shorts include a Southern-accented Steve Buscemi telling Joie Lee and Cinqué Lee some rather odd theories about Elvis, Cate Blanchett catching up with her very Aussie cousin (also played by Blanchett), Bill Murray meeting up with the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA and RZA, and Jack White showing Meg White (who, by the way, can't act) his tesla coil.

I was so looking forward to this film when I first heard about its concept, so I can't help feel being slightly let down by the end result. Of course, if you have nine almost completely separate films, a little inconsistency is inevitable, but on the whole I did find it rather dull. I've never seen anything else by Jarmusch, so maybe he's just poor at writing conversational dialogue. I mean, I can understand that the films were meant to be pointless, but seriously, at some stages the pointlessness goes too far.

Buscemi, known for his blistering words from a classic scene in Reservoir Dogs (1992), was surprisingly not very well used in this, although his segment was one of the better ones in the film. Cate Blanchett gives worthy performances in her duel role, but her segment wasn't that great. The opening short with Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright, and the one with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, I thought were quite poor as well. Bill Murray did shed a bit of light in his segment, but it wasn't really enough to get itself going.

The stand-out one was by far Alfred Molina's meeting with Steve Coogan. That was very funny and enjoyable stuff. If only the rest of the film was up to its standard, then it could've been a lot better.

em_fiction gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 6 Nov 2004

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