The folks at Warner Bros. won't be ordering any more "historic epics" in the future, that's for sure. Brad Pitt in "Troy" should have stopped them cold. But with Oliver Stone's $200 million "Alexander," to quote another Warner contract player, "that's all folks."
Through Friday night, the three-hour unintentionally hilarious sandal drama has made $13.8 million. Its sixth-place finish on Friday night put it behind such ignominious company as "National Treasure," "Christmas With the Kranks," "The Polar Express," "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" and "The Incredibles" — none of which are exactly Oscar worthy.
"Alexander" will be lucky to add $10 million more tonight and tomorrow night, bringing its five-day total to $23 million. Domestically, that would make the film a total write-off for Warner Bros. Internationally, director Stone has said in published interviews he thinks audiences abroad will understand his film more. Let's hope so.
Nothing can prepare you for the idiocy or mediocrity of "Alexander." It's set in ancient Greece, Macedonia, Babylon and India, yet Alexander's followers speak with Irish brogues. Toward the end of the movie, one of his men makes a plea to the troops with a brilliant Scottish accent. You can't help but think Mel Brooks is on his way with a full-length parody.
(I loved the Scottish speech about the "little monkey men." According to Stone's version of history, when Alexander and company arrived in India they mistook monkeys for citizens.)
Angelina Jolie plays Alexander's mother who looks about his age, has a nasty incestuous "jones" for her boy, and speaks as if she's in Rocky and Bullwinkle. Too many times I expected her to order the appearance of "moose and squirrel." She has a weird habit of playing with live snakes, too, and comes altogether nuts.
Much has been made of this Alexander's bisexuality in the movie, which of course is a major plot motif. Not very interested in the beautiful women who surround him and throw themselves at him, Alex is instead passionately in love with Jared Leto 's character, Hephaistion. They embrace, hug, smell each other's hair, and make declarations of love that haven't been heard since an episode of "The Bold and the Beautiful." Alex and Heph are not shown in bed, but Alex does invite his androgynous concubine assistant under the sheets and at one point, in front of his all army, makes out with this creature.
This doesn't sit well with Heph's rival, Alexander's ignored wife Roxane (Rosario Dawson), with fine dangling gigantic breasts that should entice any king no matter his sexuality. She roams the catacombs looking for hobbies. I imagine Mel Brooks will have her playing video games or entering "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins as Ptolemy, shown in wrap-around gimmick devices, bookends the movie with filibustery speeches about Alexander's great successes. Scene chewing? You betcha. Hopkins, dressed in a lovely toga, squints, gesticulates, and clears his throat as he tells the long, long, long explanation of why we should care about any of this. At one point his ancient stenographer cross his eyes and shoots him a look of "whatever." It may be the single best bit of acting in "Alexander."
I've left out Val Kilmer, who also thinks he's in County Cork, Christopher Plummer (who'd have been better off sitting this one out), and of course Colin Farrell himself. Discovered by Joel Schumacher for a little film called "Tigerland," Farrell has carved a place for himself in the tabloids as a bad-boy Lothario. His acting leaves a lot to be desired, however. As a blonde he's picked up the Brad Pitt gauntlet. He mugs for the camera and shows off his trainer-made physique whenever possible. Catch him in his red feather boa shawl on a mountain ridge. It's quite lovely. He looks a lot like the late Linda McCartney with his shag haircut; I don't know if it's intentional. What I do know if this was really the way Alexander conducted his life and conquests, it's a wonder our shower curtains now contain maps of the world at all.