A famous oceanographer and filmmaker (Bill Murray) goes hunting the “jaguar shark” that ate his partner, accompanied by his estranged wife (Anjelica Huston) and an airline pilot (Owen Wilson) who may or may not be his son. Director Wes Anderson (Rushmore
and The Royal Tenenbaums
) is a unique talent with a quirky, distinctive voice—but he misfires here. The script (by Anderson and Noah Baumbach) remains an annoying, smirking, self-satisfied puddle of semi-clever ideas, staged with a sluggish, lifeless, deadpan diffidence that drains the film of energy and the characters of humanity. Anderson’s previous scripts were co-written with Wilson, and his hand may be what’s missing here. It’s probably no accident that Wilson himself gives the film’s most effective (and least affected) performance.