Film Review: ‘Upside Down’

Jim Sturgess (bottom) and Kirsten Dunst (top) play lovers thwarted by gravity in "Upside Down," in theaters today. CREDIT: Millennium Entertainment
Jim Sturgess (bottom) and Kirsten Dunst (top) play lovers thwarted by gravity in “Upside Down.”
CREDIT: Millennium Entertainment

‘Upside Down’
Director: Juan Solanas
Stars: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

There is no one on screen today more excessively earnest than Jim Sturgess, particularly when he’s suppressing his British accent for a bland American one. In the opening several minutes of the English-language European production “Upside Down,” Sturgess is forced to power through the ridiculous premise, which is the kind that probably sounded simple in theory but requires tedious explication when put in practice. Turns out Sturgess’ moony-eyed dreamer lives on a planet with “double gravity,” with one society literally living on top of the other, facing eachother like polar opposites.

As the actor prattles on about how each side has its own gravitational pull and how should someone from one side ventures over to the other they’ll start to burn up — don’t worry: the screenplay will conveniently forget this rule once it proves troublesome — it’s easy to get distracted by Sturgess’ breathy, hilariously sincere tone. When he comes to the part about “the secret of the pink bees,” credibility evaporates.

Not that you’ll ever truly be lost in this bizarro-world, which is evidently the size of a snow globe, with storytelling about as ambitious. Sturgess’s Adam is in love not with Eve but Eden (Kirsten Dunst), a pretty girl from the world above him. Like all those on his half, he’s poor, and she, like hers, is disgustingly rich. As youths, they would meet at adjacent mountain peaks to make out and eat jam. She conveniently loses her memory, but Adam never gives up the flame and hatches a plan to reunite, using Mr. Heavyfoot boots and several tons of pluck.

The pricey “Upside Down” has a number of handsome images, one of them an all-white office (in a skyscraper that joins the two worlds) with endless rows of cubicles on both top and bottom. It’s a vision of mega-bureaucracy to rival the ones in “The Apartment,” “Brazil” and Orson Welles’ “The Trial.” Sure enough, director Juan Solanas comes back to it again and again, and again and again and again, perhaps because the rest of his film has nothing close to its power and, more important, wit. “Upside Down” boasts a slender romance storyline its makers likely mistook for simplicity when all it engenders in the viewer is the feeling of getting gypped. Our lovers never even click: Dunst looks (justifiably) bored, while Sturgess does enough overemoting for at least three star-crossed lovers.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…