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
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…