Coffee And Cigarettes

on May 14, 2004 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
Less a film than 11 vignettes with some common themes, Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes" boasts a great cast but not much of a payoff. The project was begun in 1986 with a six-minute Roberto Benigni/Steven Wright sketch called "Coffee & Cigarettes" (renamed here "Strange to Meet You") and over the years Jarmusch continued to add shorts, all revolving around coffee and cigarettes and the individuals, usually playing themselves, who consumed those products. "Coffee and Cigarettes" collects them all in one film but the linkages between these various mini-movies are suspect and tenuous and too many of them fail to gel. Best of the lot: the hilarious "Somewhere in California" with musicians Iggy Pop and Tom Waits attempting to one-up each other, and "Cousins?", a droll and very clever encounter between established actor Alfred Molina ("Boogie Nights") and hot newcomer Steve Coogan ("24 Hour Party People"), who just may be related to each other. Bill Murray is also very funny, posing as a waiter in the weird "Delirium," but most of the shorts, despite the star power on tap, are negligible. Starring Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray. Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. Produced by Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot. A United Artists release. Comedy. Rated R for language. Running time: 96 min
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