They didn't know how to end it
K. Burns | Atlanta, GA | 08/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Giamatti plays himself in this film. It is an incredibly inventive story line.
In preparing to perform a character, Paul decides he needs to unburden himself from his soul. He finds a clinic that specializes in just that. Unfortunately, this clinic also does underground soul "adoptions" with an unregulated Russian company. The Russian mule winds up stealing Paul's locked away soul and implanting it in a Russian soap-opera actress. By this time, Paul has realized that he cannot be himself without his soul and the search ensues.
There are plenty of laughs. There are a few dark moments, and I was disappointed that the soul of "Olga" is never detailed more thoroughly. It was an entertaining film. I was looking forward to how all of the characters were going to finally tie in together, but I just don't think they knew how to end it. It pretty much leaves you to your own imagination. Some people don't like movies that end that way, but I didn't mind."
Lukewarm but well-shot
Kevin F. Tasker | Athens, Ohio | 05/10/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was marketed at a comedy of sorts, but it is actually quite plodding and dour. Paul Giamatti plays a beleaguered NYC theater actor (named Paul Giamatti) who is having a hard time dealing with the psychological anxiety of playing the lead in Checkhov's seminal Uncle Vanya, so he enlists the help of a team of Soul-storers led by the excellent (yet dry) David Stratham. They remove his soul under the guise of making his life better, and for a while, it seems to work. Gradually, he realizes tht soullessness is no fun, as a soul makes you human. (there is also a vague subplot concerning the Russian mob and similarly murky dream sequences involving old greying corpse-like men and small children that play like watered-down David Lynch) The film progresses like a slower version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the love-story angle or exciting visuals...and really, come to think about it, without the interesting characters involved in the whole scheme of muddling with intangibility (Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst equalled out Jim Carrey's sadness in that film, here there is no comic relief...just more mopey, flat characters like the Russian girl) There is a pretty drab blue, smoky color palate at work here, and a lot of talented character actors doing their cold, straight-man routines. There are a lot of scenes of Giamatti just staring off at things in a faux-existential stupor. This tactic, while it reinforces his soulless ennui, is painfully slow. Occasional humor permeates the cloud of despondence, as when Paul admits to his wife that he has been turned into a empty, staggering vessel, or when (soulless) his Uncle Vanya takes on a brash, kooky aspect. Otherwise the film is morose, yet admirably well-lit. Intriguing internal conflict aside, there is a serious lack of momentum as well as memorable scenes."