There is a scene in "Elizabethtown" in which Drew (Orlando Bloom) and Claire (Kirsten Dunst) spend the entire night on the phone. This scene awoke in me the feelings of excitement and apprehension and fun that come with these types of calls. The ones you are initially terrified to make, but once you do, you never want them to end. Where the things you talk about range from the most trivial to the most profound and would make little sense to anyone but the two of you. Crowe captures the elation of those kinds of calls perfectly.
I wish that the entire movie could have reached the heights of that segment. It does not, but the film is never really bad either. Awkward is probably the best word for the way many scenes played out.all this will be invisible until you click on the title "Cheesy" is the word I would use for one scene toward the end [when Drew visits the hotel where Dr. King was killed set to the tune of U2's Pride (In the Name of Love)].
I think that the biggest surprise in the movie is that Orlando Bloom does not completely stink. In fact, I'd say he's rather good in many scenes (particularly in the road trip montage). However, like his other leading parts, he just seems to be trying way too hard. During the scene in which Drew first sees his father's body, you can look into Bloom's eyes and clearly see him concentrating very hard on his "acting." Again, awkward.
Bloom is however surrounded by a very solid supporting cast which compensates for his weaknesses. Kirsten Dunst radiate energy as Claire. She's cute and attractive and fun in the same way that Kate Hudson was in "Almost Famous" and Natalie Portman in "Garden State." Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Loudon Wainwright, Alec Baldwin, and Jessica Biel are all good in their limited roles. The film also features the always spectacular soundtrack that one has come to expect from a Crowe film (though certain scenes here made me feel as if he was relying too much on the songs).
There are things that I would have liked to see done differently in this movie. I would have liked to have seen a more competent actor in the lead. Storywise, I felt there needed to be more focus on Drew's emotional journey. I could have pretty much done without the entire shoe plot. I also would have liked to see more of Sarandon and Greer as Drew's widowed mother and single mom sister. I think that the romance storyline and the road trip could have been more intwined so that we could see more sweeping scenes of the majestic American landscapes.
"Elizabethtown" does not always reach the highs that Cameron Crowe has attained with "Almost Famous" or "Say Anything," but it never reaches to the lows he fell to with "Vanilla Sky" or "Jerry Maguire." The film is like the roadtrip Claire plans for Drew. It meanders. It takes its time. It allows you to appreciate the scenery. It plays some good songs. It illicits a range of emotions. Enjoy the journey. I could not stop smiling the whole way through.