The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Rated 3.0

Benjamin Button is born an elderly geezer, and he gets progressively younger as the 60-plus years of his life go by. That’s the premise of a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and of this new David Fincher extravaganza, with Brad Pitt in the title role. In both versions, Benjamin is a charming sort of misfit, a doomed innocent navigating the margins of American history while burdened with a fanciful and unlikely physical condition. But neither version really has anywhere to go apart from the clever playing out of a life story ruled by the arbitrary ironies of that reverse-aging concept. The assembled actors (Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, etc.) don’t really have much to do in all this. The chief invention of the film version—a convoluted love story centering on Benjamin’s beloved Daisy (Blanchette)—makes this into a species of dry-eyed soap opera and leaves us with the possibility that each of the characters is only a by-stander. But that also leaves the whole operation without any real emotional center, and little coherence apart from its assorted technical displays. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13