*/**** Image A+ Sound A+ Extras B-
starring Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Kurt Russell, Cameron Diaz
screenplay by Cameron Crowe, based on the screenplay for Abre Los Ojos by Alejandro Amenábar and Mateo Gil
directed by Cameron Crowe
by Walter Chaw Vanilla Sky is an unpleasant, incompetent, and laborious amalgam of Jacob's Ladder and The Game, Joe Eszterhas doing Frank Herbert, if you will. It is profane to no good end, forcing Cameron Diaz to define her sexuality through roughly a dozen variations on "I swallowed your come," and is otherwise so sloppily assembled that even the generally arresting Jason Lee is made irritating and superfluous. Cameron Crowe is rapidly becoming a self-indulgent, disingenuous disaster--his films grow more pretentious as his subjects shrink in consequence. After tackling a rose-coloured breed of aggrandizing nostalgia in the overlong Almost Famous, he's decided to remake the mediocre Spanish film Open Your Eyes ("Abre Los Ojos")by flavour of the month Alejandro Amenábar, paying alleged "homage" to about a dozen other directors, movies, and album covers while displaying exactly the same breed of star-deifying that he ostensibly deflated in Almost Famous. Crowe fans should prepare to be disheartened by the realization that the crown prince of weakling uplift has actually fallen down on the altar of the ultimate Kafkaesque Hollywood godhead: Tom Cruise.