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More questions than answers for Coen fans, 7 November 2003

This is a film I'd love to love, but I'm gonna have to watch it one more time to make up my mind. Usually, it takes a couple of watches to fully appreciate the full subtlety of the Coen Brothers' unique vision. This time I need to find out if the film was really as poor as I first thought. Is it the script? Not penned by the Coens, and it shows, but how did the "Nail your ass" stuff ever get through the re-writing and or QA process? I can only assume that Cedric the Entertainer (a very optimistic description of the man) had some influence here. Is it the cinematography? Might be. The whole look is a little bit bland compared to the sumptious look that we've grown accustomed to with the Coens. Was some of the slapstick framed a little too close? Maybe. What about the music? Carter Burwell is my favourite film music composer, so I hesitate to criticise, but is he up to the rigorous demands of light romantic comedy? Or is it me that's getting it wrong? Maybe the film isn't what I think it is. Are the Coens just messing with our minds? I did laugh, but I was all too aware that there were parts of the film that made no sense unless they were funny, but no-one was laughing. A couple of people actually walked out... As usual, the Coens have intrigued me, but I'm really worried that this time my interest might not be rewarded.