Words and Pictures Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Valerie Tian. Directed by Fred Schepisi. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.
He’s a writer with a drinking problem! She’s a painter with rheumatoid arthritis! As teachers at the same elite prep school, they hold opposite views on what’s most valuable in artistic expression (he favors words, while she values pictures). Will they fall in love?
Obviously they will, and Words and Pictures blandly delivers the romance between Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) and Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), along with some half-hearted musings about creativity, academics and philosophy. The central debate between words and pictures never comes off as anything more than a screenwriting gimmick, and the main characters themselves are more collections of clichés than fully realized people. Owen and Binoche are both strong actors, but they can’t salvage this bran muffin of a movie, which piles on the romantic-comedy contrivances and then has the nerve to pretend that it’s saying something valuable and profound.