A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG 

Even as it counsels against romanticizing seedy living and bad behavior, Shainee Gabel's film tumbles right into the same trap. A cluster of colorful New Orleans barflies led by disgraced professor Bobby Long (John Travolta) re-discover their footing when circumstance deposits a sort-of innocent waif named Purcy (Scarlett Johansson) in their midst. Travolta's performance is an exercise in clichéd mannerisms that still barely conveys "rumpled" much less "scraping the bottom." Johansson fares better -- her youth is luminous -- but the script barely puts her through any real emotional paces. Ultimately, A Love Song is a sentimental and obvious tale of redemption and discovery that makes strenuous use of New Orleans' decrepit charms -- from graveyards, delta banks and smoky jazz clubs -- but all that grubby color is just shabby chic window-dressing for a dull one-story structure.

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