Water for Elephants

Francis Lawrence is a talented director … of big-budget genre fare like “I Am Legend” and “Constantine.” But two-hour romantic dramas set in the world of a traveling circus? Three-ring boredom, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how pretty — how utterly golden-hued — the proceedings look.

Christoph Waltz, the most deserving Oscar winner for his part in “Inglourious Basterds” as SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa, portrays power-mad, angry-ass circus owner August Rosenbluth. He’s such a villain in the figurative mustache-twirling mode that characters dare not utter the phrase “Ringling Bros.,” lest they face his wrath. The only good thing about his cardboard role is that he’s married to the businesses’ star attraction — the human one, at least — Marlene, played by Reese Witherspoon.

As beautiful and talented as Witherspoon is, she’s not the lead. That role goes to “Twilight” teenie-bopper idol Robert Pattinson, whose performance and the film as a whole can be summed up by the following, theme-appropriate four seconds:

Unlike the movie, I’ll waste no more of your precious time. —Rod Lott

Rod Lott

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