It took us a while to get around to panning The Lovely Bones, since by the time it was screened for Portland critics it had pretty well been panned by everybody, and it hardly seemed worth bothering really. But here you go:


The Lovely Bones

The problem with The Lovely Bones is that it has no bones. I mean this both literally and metaphorically: The discovery of a slain child's olecranon is a crucial scene in Alice Sebold's novel, but the movie expunges it, the same way it glosses over every painful reality in its rush to healing. After 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is raped and murdered in a subterranean bunker by neighbor Stanley Tucci (he talks like Jimmy Stewart, which somehow makes it worse), she is whisked off to a heaven that looks like a cross between Lothlórien and an mid-'90s screen saver, while her parents (Mark Wahlberg and an ignored Rachel Weisz) suspect everybody but that nice old Mr. Harvey. Susie spends much of her afterlife calling hello and goodbye to people from celestial amber waves of grain; here is where you know the movie was directed by Peter Jackson, because it strongly resembles Frodo greeting all his pals at the end of The Return of the King. Back on earth, Tucci continues to be insultingly conspicuous. (To put it crassly: A man builds one rape shelter in his backyard, and it might be overlooked by the neighbors; he builds two, and it's just going to draw attention.) All dramatic sense, let alone any hope of catharsis, is denied by lurching transitions—it is not the actors' fault if much of the picture seems like an episode of Mark Wahlberg Talks to Ghosts. By the time it finishes failing at everything it attempts, The Lovely Bones has become an offense to real grieving, to good taste and most of all to the music of Brian Eno. "Of course it's beautiful," chirrups one of Susie's new friends. "It's heaven!" It's Touched by a Neighbor, Then an Angel. PG-13. Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99 Stadium 11, Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 IMAX, Cinetopia, City Center Stadium 12, Cornelius 9 Cinemas, Division Street Stadium 13, Evergreen Parkway Stadium 13, Hilltop 9 Cinema, Lloyd Center Stadium 10 Cinema, Movies On TV Stadium 16, Oak Grove 8 Cinemas, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Sandy Cinemas, Sherwood Stadium 10, Tigard 11 Cinemas, Wilsonville Stadium 9 Cinema.