BAD TIMING/A SENSUAL OBSESSION -- At the Inner Circle and K-B Fine Arts.
"Milena, your scenes are boring, dull and stupid," Art Garfunkel tells his girlfriend during one of their countless lovers' quarrels in "Bad Timing." Hate to say it, Art, but so are yours. And so are everyone else's in this pretentious, laughably bad new movie from Nicholas Roeg.
Talk about your fun couples. As Garfunkel plays him, Dr. Alex Linden, a dour, chainsmoking, self-important research psychoanalyst, has all the oomph of overcooked broccoli. It's impossible to understand why fun-loving Milena (Theresa Russell) is attracted to him.
Anyway, they get together, but their relationship is Doomed from the Start. As we meet them, Milena is being rushed to the hospital, an attempted suicide. While she fights for her life. Alex paces guiltily in the hospital corridor. We meanwhile, get flashbacks of their relationship. And a heavy one it is. They have deep conversations, all studded with soul-searching exchanges like: "You known that's not true." "Do I?"
Or: "What do you want?" "What do you want?"
Or: "Do you believe that?" "Is that what you want me to believe?"
There is the question of whether Alex was criminally neglect in reporting Milena's suicide attempt, so he is joined at the hospital by Harvey Keitel as a suspicious police detective. "What is detection if not confession?" he expounds between cigarettes (this movie is like one long Marlboro commercial) and then he pulls out all the stops: "Confess, Dr. Linden . . . as a personal favor." Oh sure, now that you put it that way . . .
As Garfunkel's manic, mixed-up cutie Theresa Russell may or may not be good -- it's hard to tell, given the lines she's saddled with. She is attractive in a punkish way, and her vivacious manner far transcends Garfunkel's own humorless, wooden style. But that's not saying a lot.
Roeg directs with a heavy hand, juxtaposing bedroom scenes with operating-room scenes (from lovemaking to stomach-pumping, or orgasms to electric shock). To his credit, his complicated flashback style, jumping back and forth from past to present, isn't confusing. It's just wasted -- on one of the most tiresome love stories ever to hit the screen.