Love Liza

Rated 2.0 A recent widower (Philip Seymour Hoffman) can’t bring himself to read his wife’s suicide note. He prefers, instead, to shrink into his grief—sniffing gasoline fumes, dabbling in remote-control model airplanes and rebuffing the condolences of his mother-in-law (Kathy Bates). The script by Gordy Hoffman (the star’s brother) molds itself to the actor’s strengths: the wounded-steer flailing; the reckless anger; the unfocused, staring eyes; and slurred, nasal speech. But writer Hoffman and director Todd Louiso never develop, much less resolve, a scene. They just dash off a few quick points and then move on to the next idea. The film is an inkblot; we can read whatever we want into it, but there’s no sense of the dead wife or why she killed herself—or why she ever married this mumbling jerk in the first place.