August 12, 2010 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'The City of Your Final Destination' -- GRADE: D

Review: Emotional blight plagues James Ivory's 'City'

Film plays like parody of director Ivory's work

Omar Metwally receives some TLC in "The City of Your Final Destination." (Screen Media Films)

Having trouble sleeping? Try watching "The City of Your Final Destination."

Slow, dull and wielding absolutely no emotional impact despite a fine cast, "City" is the latest effort from director James Ivory, who made so many subtly powerful films -- "The Remains of the Day," "Howards End" -- with producer Ismail Merchant in the '80s and '90s.

Merchant passed on a while back, and he obviously played a big part in making the movies work.

"City" is the story of grad student Omar Razaghi (a vacant Omar Metwally), who has received a grant to write the biography of a reclusive author who committed suicide at his remote South American retreat. At the prodding of his fiercely uptight girlfriend (Alexandra Maria Lara), Omar trudges off to said retreat to get permission from the survivors to write an "authorized" biography.

Asleep yet?

When he gets down there, Omar finds the author's widow (Laura Linney), mistress (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and gay older brother (Anthony Hopkins) all residing on the estate, apparently bathing in the morbid glow of the author's suicide without a notion of what to do now that he's gone.

Omar thinks the place is magical. Omar isn't terribly bright.

As if to prove this point he gets stung by a bee, falls and breaks a wrist and ends up in a hospital.

Oh, and he falls in quiet love with the mistress.

Linney, Hopkins and Gainsbourg are such good actors there's pleasure in watching them drink iced tea, but not that much pleasure.

Not enough to keep your eyes open.

"The City of Your Final Destination" could actually be a parody of a bad James Ivory film, if it weren't an actual James Ivory film.

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