January 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review -- 'Somewhere' -- GRADE: B-

Review: Coppola's 'Somewhere' takes us nowhere

Elle Fanning plays Stephen Dorff’s daughter Cleo in “Somewhere,” a film about the loneliness of being wealthy. (Merrick Morton)

Oh the pain of being fabulously wealthy, famous and good-looking.

The wretched agony of living in expensive hotels, driving fancy cars and having members of the opposite sex throw themselves at you. The haunting meaninglessness of it all, the terrible boredom, the wretched excessiveness of wretched excess.

So far this century, Sofia Coppola has made the same film three times. It's a movie about the loneliness of the rotting rich living in spoiled isolation. This was the essence of "Lost in Translation" and "Marie Antoinette" and it is the central theme of her newest effort, "Somewhere."

But where "Lost in Translation" had Bill Murray's sad sparkle and "Marie Antoinette" had all that gaudy French dressing, "Somewhere" dares to have nothing very interesting at all going on, unless you find cigarette consumption fascinating.

Coppola, herself a rich child who spent many nights in fancy hotels, apparently does find cigarette consumption fascinating. More importantly, she manages to make it count for something in a totally oblique, European existential angst way. She has, after all, made this movie three times: She's got it down.

Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is apparently an action movie star, living at the Chateau Marmont hotel above Sunset Strip, partying and passing time. A ways into the film, his tween daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) comes to stay with him.

They go on a publicity junket to Italy, then they come back. They lounge by the pool. That's about all that goes on.

That and lots of sighing imagery. The film starts out with Johnny driving his car around in circles in the desert. Really?

There's no denying Coppola displays great understanding of wealthy ennui in "Somewhere." And as a film stylist, she hits some fine grace notes.

Still, she and we have been here before, and empty hotel life does have its limits.

Can we suggest maybe a move to a modest three-bedroom ranch on the poor side of town?

Sofia, it's time to check out and move on.

'Somewhere'

GRADE: B-

Rated R: For sexual content, nudity and languageRunning time: 97 minutes

tlong@detnews.com

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