I don't know if I've ever watched a movie and been embarrassed for the filmmakers. I've watched plenty where I've found myself actively hating whoever put that particular piece of garbage on film, but I don't think I've found myself in a situation quite like this. Watching 'Waiting for Forever' is akin to watching one of those really bad contestants on 'American Idol.' You know the producers stuck them on television just so the audience can get a few laughs, but some of those people really, truly, believe they can sing. Then they're ridiculed, which isn't a pretty sight, and at that point I find myself feeling embarrassed for them. In that same vein, I believe director James Keach ('Blind Dating') and writer Steve Adams ('Envy') really thought they could make a soulful movie about a hopeless romantic and the object of his affection, but instead fail in a gloriously weird and uncomfortable movie experience that almost defies description.
Will Donner (Tom Sturridge) is just as creepy as his namesake might suggest. No he never reduces himself to cannibalism, but Will is quite possibly the creepiest lead in a love story ever. Sturridge ('Pirate Radio') talks like I'd imagine Owen Wilson would talk had he been given near-fatal amounts of Novocain. Listening to Sturridge slur through his lines is annoyingly grating.
Will is filled with an unrequited love for Emma (Rachel Bilson), who he's loved ever since he was five. When his parents passed away, Will confided in Emma and she helped relieve the stress he felt from losing them. Time passed and they grew apart. Emma became a famous movie star and Will became a vagabond, hitch-hiking across the country quietly stalking his love. Wherever Emma goes, Will follows in silence. He performs juggling acts on the streets to make money, but he's always watching Emma waiting for the moment to tell her that he's deeply in love with her.
Will's actions are more worthy of a restraining order than affection, but none of his closest friends seem to be bothered that he's hoofing it around the country stalking this girl. His brother seems to be the only sane one in the bunch and tells Will off, but the movie tries to make us feel sorry for Will. Sorry movie, but Will belongs in an asylum. He's clearly bonkers.
Keach directs this movie with a ham-fisted view of love and longing, with the subtlety of a laugh-track-addled sitcom. The script, provided by Adams, is one of the worst movie scripts I have ever had the chance of watching play out in front of me. It's an excruciatingly bad 90 minutes of teary-eyed nonsense with characters that haven't done a thing to garner our attention or adoration.
To make matters worse, extraneous subplots have been thrown into the mix without any rhyme or reason. Keach and Adams would like us to believe that this movie is a thinker, with an indie feel. Emma's dad (Richard Jenkins) is dying and her mother (Blythe Danner) is having a tough time accepting it. A script that can make both seasoned actors like Jenkins and Danner seem like this is the first movie they've ever been in is completely irredeemable. Even in the soulless 'Meet the Parents' movies, Danner still ended up being a warm presence. Here she's dreadfully underused, in a role that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
'Waiting for Forever' isn't just bad, it's a train wreck. As you drive past it you can't turn away. Mangled bodies of the actors involved hang out the windows, lifeless and broken. It's a movie that celebrates stalking and bad writing. It's so awesomely horrid that it's almost impossible not to watch the whole thing. You find yourself wondering there must be a scene coming up that makes this excruciating experience worth it, but no, there isn't. The movie spirals down faster and faster until it's apparent that there's no way it'll be able to dig itself out of the hole Keach and Adams have buried it in. I can't help but feel embarrassed for everyone involved.
Blu-ray Vital Statistics
'Waiting for Forever' comes to Blu-ray on a 25GB Single-layer disc. It's packaged in your standard Blu-ray keepcase. According to the case it's coded for region A.
'Waiting for Forever' has been given an AVC-encoded 1080p video presentation, which far outshines the dismal movie that it's presenting. This is a clear and clean transfer of this recent film.
The picture harbors a good amount of fine detail, as close-ups reveal Will's spotty beard and Emma's light freckles. Colors are nice and vivid, from lush greens to the brick-reds of downtown Salt Lake City. This movie was filmed in my home state at places I visit quite often. I can tell you that each shot of those places is as natural as they look in real life. It's silly that the filmmakers expect us to believe the Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake City is a suitable stand-in for Fisherman's Warf in San Francisco, but oh well. I didn't notice any glaring technical issues associated with this presentation. A few instances of notable crushing and some softness is about the extent of visual problems with this transfer.
Overall, this 1080p presentation is far more than 'Waiting for Forever' ever deserved.
The audio presentation, which is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, isn't as striking as the video is. Instead, the audio whimpers along with the rest of the movie.
Dialogue is muffled, and since Sturridge is slurring just about every line he has, it's hard to make out anything he's saying. When you finally rewind the movie and play it back at a louder volume you'll find out that most of his lines are inconsequential and tediously sappy anyway, so maybe not hearing them is a good thing.
Rear channels are pretty silent, but come to life on a couple of occasions like when Emma throws a vase at her estranged boyfriend. The musical soundtrack is whimpy and lifeless as it resides in the front channels, sort of hanging out rather than engulfing us. This is a weak audio presentation at best.
No special features included.
With a purported budget of $5 million, 'Waiting for Forever' grossed a measly $25,517 domestically. Where do filmmakers like Keach find investors willing to take a chance on a movie like this? I have to think that after they saw a rough cut they put their heads in their hands and wept. All that money down the drain.
I don't hate 'Waiting for Forever', I feel sorry for it. Somewhere inside the moronic script and terrible performances is a genuine love story that could be told. Well, on second thought, maybe there isn't. This is a story that wants us to root for a stalker. A creepy man that does nothing but follow a woman around the country that he hasn't actually talked to for the better part of two decades. The movie would have done better as a sick and twisted serial killer picture rather than a sappy, insipid love saga. This waste of time is definitely a title you should avoid, and judging by the box office numbers you won't be the only one doing so.