** (two stars)
Paolo Sorrentino's “This Must Be the Place” is weird without being quite wondefrul. It's intriguing without being engaging. It's beautiful to look at but feels like the pretty parts never quite come together.
Sean Penn, looking a little like an aging Edward Scissorhands, sounding a little like Mister Rogers and acting a little like Ozzy Osbourne, stars as the decidedly quirky Cheyenne, the aging former lead singer of a goth rock band. Cheyenne, who has spent the past two decades in self-imposed exile in Dublin, learns that his father, from whom he's been estranged for 30 years, is dying. He arrives in New York too late to say goodbye, but sets out in search of the Nazi who tormented his father in a WWII concentration camp.
Penn's bizarre performance never entirely rings true. And Sorrentino's bizarre movie is full of wonderful moments but seems the product of a writer/director who was far too pleased with himself to notice it doesn't quite work.
There are a lot of things to like about “This Must Be the Place.” Just not enough to hold up through two hours of weirdness.
— Scott D. Pierce