The Majestic

The Majestic is a faux-Capraesque attempt at emulating those wonderful '40s heart-swelling Americana films, such as Mr Smith Goes to Washington (with Jimmy Stewart), or Meet John Doe (with Gary Cooper) melded with The Front (Martin Ritt, 1976). A 1950ish mix of Mom's Apple Pie-Patriotism with Communist witchhunt fervour and you have the formula for the latest Frank Darabont (The Green Mile) vehicle. Ambitious, young Hollywood screenwriter gets blacklisted by the House o­n Unamerican Activities Committee, suffers amnesia in a car accident and washes up ashore to be embraced by a small town who mistakenly identify him as their lost local war hero. Everything about the film is an endeavored homage to Capra: the takes-its-time pacing of the plot, the drawn-out local characters and their smalltown values, and the emotional resonance of the story. But, despite a good cast: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, and Laurie Holden (a ringer for Lauren Holly) doing their best to stir the heartstrings, it doesn't add up to much more than an overlong bit of celluloid sachrymose that just doesn't work for audiences in the year 2001.