To swallow "Elizabethtown" without experiencing a sharp tummy-cramp of disbelief, you're going to have to accept Orlando Bloom as a tormented soul. You're also going to have to believe he'd take an entire movie (Cameron Crowe's misfired romance is two hours plus) to get used to the idea of loving blonde, uber-adorable Kirsten Dunst. Tormented soul or idiot?
Bloom is Drew Baylor, a shoe designer from Oregon whose latest creation has incurred company losses of close to $1 billion and led to his firing. Dunst is Claire, a life-affirmative flight attendant who meets him on the plane he has to take to Elizabethtown, Ky. His father, while visiting his home town, just died there. It's Drew's duty to pick up the body and make nice with his estranged Southern relatives -- still mad at Drew's mom (Susan Sarandon) for stealing his father away 20 years ago.
Drew's big on the predestiny of names and other mystical things. He's mopey and despondent and contemplating suicide. Claire gives him driving directions to Elizabethtown and that other destination: her big, home-fried heart. But Drew has to deal with his father and family, as well as work out that, you know, shoe depression.
There's not much specialness between Bloom and Dunst, other than the surface appeal of two attractive people making (or almost making) kissy face. Sweet delay before the inevitable coupling is a mainstay in every romance, but writer-director Crowe (whose string of super films from "Say Anything" to "Almost Famous" shows no resonance here) turns that delay into the waiting room from hell.
-- Desson Thomson