Dressed with gorgeous period detail but devoid of heart, Mick Davis’ prosaic art biopic Modigliani is a tiresome, hammy and worse, annoying portrait of an artist as a young drunk. Chronicling Italian painter Amedo Modigliani’s final years in early 1900’s Paris, we’ve got all the conspicuous trimmings for the allegedly exciting bohemian story complete with doomed love and young death. The brilliant, hard partying Modigliani (Andy Garcia) hangs with all his famous friends (Diego Rivera, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso) while enduring a deadly addiction to drugs and alcohol. His relationship to muse Jeanne Hébuterne (the beautiful, Modigliani-esque Elsa Zylberstein) worsens, especially after their illegitimate child is taken away and his intense rivalry with the grandstanding and more famous Picasso (Omid Djalili) continues to frustrate. But do we care? Not a whip. Damaged by the film’s pedestrian script, clunky direction and bathetic, irritating performance by Garcia (who’s tortured bon vivant plays like an old, obnoxious blowhard) Modigliani is so rife with cliché it borders on the absurd. Especially when the film utilizes a cinematic device prevalent in 1980’s Corey Haim films—the slow clap—and makes Pablo Picasso administer it. Didn’t the filmmakers learn anything from Not Another Teen Movie?
"Modigliani" opens in select theaters today, May 13.