Park sells indie music to the masses

The twentieth century has seen automobiles, personal appliances and molecular science.

Within twenty minutes Paul McGuigan’s new film Wicker Park engenders a quaint decorative sense that goes to great lengths to justify all that surrounds it. Diabolical in its portent but loathing fruition, Wicker Park has automobiles, personal stalkers and poor impulse control.

From Easy Rider to The Harder They Come to the oeuvre of Cameron Crowe, the fashionable soundtrack has seen its importance wax and wane. For every Jimmy Cliff or Curtis Mayfield, there are several black holes of Big Chill proportions that eager tunesmiths disappear into.

With the tenth anniversary of Clerks closing in upon the romantic faux-Jersey slobs of this great country, postmodern film has seen the musical soundtrack become a rabidly commercial form that is an evasive beast: Is it product or is it a crutch, and which is worse? To the detriment of multiplex constituents and the boon of the informed cineaste, music and movies seem to have hefted each other into an incestuous morass bound by supply and demand but beholden only to the whims of suburbanites aged eighteen to forty-nine.

Wicker Park is a mere hesitation point on the suicide path from Adrian Lyne’s self-evocative repetition to the terminus of cardboard cinema. Therein, what is a fresh and unheard accompaniment becomes musical waste, tripe in the clutches of charlatans.

More a mountebank than a musical supervisor, Liza Richardson resembles Rose Byrne’s Alex in that both the character and her real-life counterpart are blind to the needs of others. Richardson has simply fallen prey to the Dazed and Confused-industrial complex: Employ simpletons within the construct of readily identifiable archetypes and Cabbage Patch dramatic form, surround them with the work of the musicians du jour, and audiences are sure to follow along.

In a Dallas-cum-titillation era, derivations of Fatal Attraction are self-sustaining maelstroms of puerile barbarism that have no interest in carrying a singular tone through to feature-length; thereby do soundtracks become hopelessly eclectic affairs.

Independent musicianship has become the Photoshop of youth-market cinema in that seldom-heard acts are utilized and usually abused towards the goal of selling a film that is reel-to-reel nonsense. Extending such an indictment to this particular film’s participants, Josh Hartnett is a lanky, misguided Humphrey Bogus for hucksters; ideal dressing for the empty salad diet offered moviegoers by niche advertising run amuck.

Materially, Wicker Park is a two-hour-long death rattle for the validity and relevancy of the Vespa and megapixel crowd, with impending adult situations and implicit sexuality bleating from scenes and its Big Secret beckoning like a flawed rug. One walks along in hopes of perfection and comes through confused by the pedestrian swirl of hot steam that is connoted as suspense.

This brand of staging extends to the scattershot musical smorgasbord, with mistakes served cold in heaping portions.

McGuigan and his directorial ilk are latter-day Warhols, ape delegates in the gauche rapprochement of commercialism, auditory foolishness and narrow-band marketing to naïve hipsters. Pray that Fellini and Morricone do not roll over in their graves.

Contact staff writer Adrian Dowe at