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Every actor in the ensemble is terrific, but their stories sink under the weight of the humorless, self-serious script.

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Paolo Sorrentino’s drama is a visually impressive but self-indulgent film about a group of wealthy and successful people staying at a Swiss luxury spa. Chief among them is Michael Caine, portraying a retired composer who spends his days getting massages and talking urine production with his film-director pal, played by Harvey Keitel. These two go way back and spend much of the film trying to return there — when they’re not ogling beauty queens and doling out advice to cartoonishly depicted millennials. 

Every actor in the ensemble is terrific, but their stories sink under the weight of the humorless, self-serious script. There are occasional bright points, such as a beautiful wordless sequence involving a very fat man and a tiny tennis ball. It’s visually reminiscent of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia — minus the crashing planets — and what’s left is essentially a montage of rich people being sad. The last thing these people need is more vacation.


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