Remember “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”? Of course, you do. Only a trip to Lacuna Inc. would make you forget that movie. Well, its director Michel Gondry is hoping you’ve got more cranium space to spare. His latest work of art is “The Science of Sleep,” about an imaginative man (Gael Garcia Bernal) whose dreams somehow resemble a TV show.
I found the movie a bit of a snooze. No doubt, it has some creatively imagined scenes, but once its originality wears off, there’s nothing really interesting about it. Gondry might be a genius, but he’s so inept when it comes to connecting with the audience. He could only communicate well with his wacky visual language. As a screenwriter, he seemed to have learned that the task at hand is to be consistently weird. I think he failed to realize how emotionally grounded Charlie Kaufman’s script for “Eternal” was.
“The Science of Sleep” was also a disappointment because it’s the first time I found Gael Garcia Bernal to be inadequate as an actor. Perhaps he fails because his character is practically of the same mold as Jim Carrey’s role in “Eternal.” Bernal, who came off as too nice of a guy, needed to pull a heightened madness to the lead part. Maybe this task should only be left to the manically gifted like Jim Carrey. I hate too that “The Science of Sleep” further perpetuates the idea that you need to be really really weird to have an imagination. Oh well. I hate to waste more time writing about this. “The Science of Sleep” just proves that an “out of the box” movie can unfortunately be also out of touch. Now, I need to excuse myself. I have to clear out some cranium space for truly memorable movies.
Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou, Emma de Caunes, Aurélia Petit, Sacha Bourdo, and Pierre Vaneck
Rated R for language, some sexual content and nudity