Coffee And Cigarettes

"OK"

Coffee And Cigarettes Review


Coffee and cigarettes. What is it about this magical combination of caffeine and cancer that's so irresistible to millions of café and pub patrons around the world? Despite its title, don't go looking to Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes for the answer. A series of vignettes populated by an all-star cast of actors and musicians, the film has the laid-back attitude of its tobacco-smoking, java-gulping protagonists, each of whom spends his screen time ruminating on a host of arbitrary issues involving class, race, and physics. However, like its central delicacy, Jarmusch's comedy is apt to provide a slight, delectable buzz but little nutritional value.

Jarmusch enlists a diverse cast of indie stars and former colleagues for this modest ensemble, but his uncharacteristically wheezy writing frequently undermines the film's wry humor. Cate Blanchett, in a dual performance, plays an arrogant version of herself as well as her skuzzy, jealous cousin, but the piece's portrait of jealousy and resentment loses steam after you become accustomed to seeing the actress talk to herself. Similarly, The White Stripes' Meg and Jack White provide a brief lesson on inventor Nikola Tesla's Tesla Coil, but save for the creepy, Mao Tse-tung-inspired portrait of Lee Marvin hanging on the wall behind them, the skit is nothing more than an overly long non sequitur. And even a brief appearance by Steve Buscemi can't rescue an insipid bit about two argumentative African-American twins talking racial politics in a Memphis diner.

As in Stranger Than Paradise, Down by Law, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Jarmusch finds his funniest results in unusual, culture-clash pairings. Hyperactive Roberto Benigni and somnambulant jokester Steven Wright ineptly attempt to bridge the language barrier over some sugary espresso, while Iggy Pop and Tom Waits - two grizzled, rebellious rock vets acting uncharacteristically mellow at a downtown bar - awkwardly converse before bonding over a decision to abandon their non-smoking ways. Yet the film's finest skit involves The Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and GZA discussing the finer points of alternative medicine, only to have their conversation interrupted by Bill Murray as their crazy waiter. The brilliantly befuddled Murray gulps coffee straight from the pot while lighting cigarettes with a stove lighter, and the hip-hop stars' constant habit of ending every sentence with the actor's name - such as when, after Murray lets loose with a hearty smoker's cough, GZA exclaims, "That don't sound too good, Bill Murray!" - is pricelessly absurd.

Working with four cinematographers - including Tom DiCillo, Frederick Elmes, Ellen Kuras, and long-time collaborator Robby Müller - Jarmusch shoots in luscious black and white with only a few static set-ups, the most frequent of which is an overhead shot of a table filled with assorted coffee cups, ashtrays, and cigarette packs. Every table boasts a checkerboard or plaid pattern, highlighting the intertwined pleasures of taking a drag and drinking a cup of Joe, but the irony is that there's not much holding these eclectic, lackadaisical, and sometimes unnecessarily repetitive segments together. Coffee and Cigarettes is agreeably benign, but it ultimately feels like the tossed-off side-project of an artist biding his time before tackling something substantive.

Notable DVD extras include a Bill Murray outtake (his disguise is revealed at last) and an interview with Taylor Mead, who appears in the final scene.

There's no smoking at the movies.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th March 2004

Box Office USA: $2.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $7.9M

Distributed by: MGM

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 79 Rotten: 43

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Roberto, as Steven, as Good Twin, as Evil Twin, as Kellner, as Iggy, as Tom, as Joe, Vinny Vella as Vinny, Vinny Vella Jr. as Vinny Jr., Renee French as Renée, E.J. Rodriguez as Waiter, as Alex, as Isaach, as Cate/Shelly, as Meg, as Jack, as Alfred, as Steve, as Bill Murray, as Bill, as Taylor, as RZA, as GZA

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.