Beyond the Sea

Rated 2.0 What would have happened if the late pop idol Bobby Darin had directed and starred in his own film biography? Kevin Spacey (star-director-producer and co-writer) has shaped that rumination into a film-within-a-film structure that never develops a compelling dramatic arc. The musical numbers with Spacey doing his own singing and dancing are exhilarating, but this valentine to the once-celebrated crooner has a lingering wax-museum aftertaste. The story, which ranges from Darin’s childhood bout with rheumatic fever to his death in 1973 at the age of 37, embraces an All That Jazz-like fusion of fantasy and reality that is alternately entertaining and stupefying. Bob Fosse’s Jazz came off as passionate delirium. Spacey’s Beyond the Sea plays more like exuberant, thinly disguised hero worship. Darin seemed to be unsatisfied with most of his life. I left the theater feeling much the same way about this movie.