Comparisons are invidious but also inevitable, especially in this camp follower to last year’s lauded Capote. Compared with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the elfin author of InCold Blood, Toby Jones barely squeaks by. Neither is he helped much by a film that cashes in on the obvious — the running gag for the first half-hour is the author, bedecked like a pre-’60s Elton John, gets mistaken for a woman. And though Jones grows on you — the cartoon gives way at times to genuine pathos and wit — Douglas McGrath’s (Nicholas Nickleby) script and direction remain half-baked. For all his faults, Capote himself knew how to draw a narrative line through the mess of real life. Where’s the story here? Capote’s sellout of his love for convicted killer Perry Smith (Daniel Craig more miscast than as 007) for “a work of art?” His desperate craving for fame? The spectacle of modern-day celebrities playing celebrities from the past? (Only Sandra Bullock shines as Harper Lee.) Nothing rings Tru.
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