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The Object Of Beauty Review

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Jake and Tina are two American yuppies living in a posh London hotel. Despite appearances, they are stony broke and contemplating selling or faking the theft of her Henry Moore bronze. There is also a suspicious chambermaid so when the bronze goes missing, it is not a cut and dried case...

★★★★★

Here's a sour, ironic little fable with what it fondly imagines is a moral for our times. John Malkovich and Andie MacDowell play Jake and Tina, a brace of American yuppie brats holed up in a posh London hotel. They look faaabulous, but in truth their credit bills are mounting fast. He wants to sell her exquisite little Henry Moore bronze to pay off their debts; she she favours fibbing to the insurance company that it's been stolen. Meanwhile a deaf-mute chambermaid (Rudi Davies), who's really impoverished, eyes it with sulky covetous glances. When it goes missing, boy, have we got a caper movie!

Well no, we haven't. An air of gloom pervades the proceedings; the intentions of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's script stay hazy. Malkovich, eyes rolling upwards into his skull, seems afflicted (understandably) by terminal ennui; MacDowell comes across as a tentative and twittery. The film has parallels with its own central characters; it looks lustrous (thanks to cinematographer David Watkin) but it's bankrupt in terms of ideas and execution.

Some of this might have been forgivable if The Object of Beauty were not so knowing and self-regarding. In vain do we wait for Jake and Tina's comeuppance; by the end, we're just relieved to be away from them. Crass materialism has rarely seemed like less fun.

This looks lustrous (thanks to cinematographer David Watkin) but it's bankrupt in terms of ideas and execution and both leads seem uninspired