`Heights': a little short

MovieReview

July 29, 2005|By Roger Moore | Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL

We are tepid voyeurs," Glenn Close bellows, in full Norma Desmond mode, a New York stage diva berating her acting class. "Where is your passion?"

She takes her own advice in Heights, a drama set within 24 hours of the lives of artsy New Yorkers. Close is Diana Lee, a wife suffering through yet another failing marriage, with a daughter about to marry Mr. Wrong (she thinks).

Close knows she has to give us something to look at because the play's not the thing - not here, anyway. It's all about life in the rarefied air of Manhattan's beautiful strivers, people with the looks, connections and possibilities to be names in New York and unhappily facing that crossroads moment.

Jesse Bradford plays the latest young boy-toy actor to fall under Diana's gaze. Isabel and Jonathan are Diana's daughter (Elizabeth Banks) and her fiance (James Marsden). She is a failing photographer staring her big break - which marriage could ruin - square in the eye, and he's a lawyer whose past is about to catch up with him.

Heights earns brownie points for style and grown-up subject matter, but these are people you won't care about doing things that are patently absurd.

Close carries her end of the deal, suggesting a world of anger, hurt, fragility and ego in just a glance. Most of the others fail to register at all, though Bradford makes an interesting break from his past playing the classic pretty boy stage actor trying to decide if his breakthrough role is worth what it will cost him.

Heights has New York cliches for characters. But in a comic-book summer, it may be just different enough, just adult enough, to warrant a climb and a look.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Heights

Starring Glenn Close, Jesse Bradford

Directed by Chris Terrio

Released by Sony Pictures Classics

Rated R (language, brief sexuality and nudity)

Time 93 minutes

Sun Score ** 1/2 (two stars and 1 half star)

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