Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
1.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
The only thing about Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close that makes it seem as though it belongs anywhere near the current batch of Oscar contenders is that its pint-sized protagonist, the extremely loquacious and incredibly cloying Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), is a kind of kindred spirit to awards-season heroes Lisbeth Salander and Hugo Cabret (he's both an ultra-efficient, number-crunching loner with a photographic memory and the holder of a magical golden key he believes will help him unlock the secrets of his late father). By all other accounts, this needlessly self-important and hugely artificial post-9/11 weepie feels laughably out of place, and could just as well have been brushed under the rug with, say, the throwaways released in late winter and early spring. Like 25th Hour as directed by the Care Bears, the New York-set film attempts to use the ordeal of one to address the pain and interconnectedness of all in the wake of what Oskar calls "the worst day," yet it's presented in a cutesy, sterile, pristine package befitting the shelves at FAO Schwartz.