Elizabethtown tells the story of a suicidal business wiz, played by Orlando Bloom, whose career comes to total ruin and is only days away from being revealed as an utter failure to the world. His moment of self-destruction is interrupted by the call that he has to tend to the death of his father, travelling to rural Kentucky to see to the arrangements.
The film plays out the series of comical adventures Bloom witnesses as he deals with the extended family that he barely knew and the burgeoning interest he gains for the talky stewardess from his flight, played by Kirstin Dunst.
What the film is particularly adept at is its portrayal of an extended Southern family. The only filmed visions of Southern families previously have been wild and stupid charicatures or julip-sipping aristocrats speaking with thick gentile accents that have never existed. If you wondered what a large Southern family is like, strip away the most wildly humorous elements seen in this movie and what remains is exactly what you get. For that part, the movie is done right.
The rest varies wildly. The situations are often interesting and humorous, but the overall tone of the film is strange and uncomfortable. Dunst does a better job of not being a jabbering, retarded cunt than any of Cameron Crowe's other leading ladies, but things never quite click with Bloom, who does a great job with what little he's given to do other than react to his surroundings while delivering his few lines with a pitch-perfect American accent.
While parts work and are genuinely amusing or interesting, the end of the move fails under the weight of its bland and scattered ideas, along with falling into the trap of being, in its last part, your regular Cameron Crowe film. That is, overwritten with shitty half-baked dialogue, much of it revolving around obscure music and people talking in a stilted, unnatural way.
Admittedly, I think Cameron Crowe's movies are pile of shit. Fast Times At Ridgemont High is nothing more than the lowest form of shitty 80's teen movie, Say Anything... is overwrought, melodramatic, and foolish, Singles is crap, Jerry Maguire is mindless romantic-gratifying bullshit, Almost Famous, I'm told, is wretched and I would shun it like I would abhor a stillborn child, and Vanilla Sky is roundly castigated as being nothing less than an abortion in every sense. Aside from all that, this is easily his best film, though it comes off as a less-retarded and pitiful version of Garden State, replacing the wretched and annoying Natalie Portman with Dunst, whose idiosyncracies stand as amusing and attractive as opposed to strictly painful to watch. Still, it's a Cameron Crowe film and, while it's tolerable, it's still less than desirable.