Or this year's Little Film That Could... Embraced by audiences thirsting for a little more substance than the usual Hollywood rom-com, the irony is that Lost In Translation isn't exactly bulging with substance itself. Any slighter, in fact, and it'd blow away in the wind.
Why all the fuss, then? Well, there's a certain novelty in the Brief Encounterish platonic bond between Bill Murray's lugubrious movie star and Scarlett Johansson's wispy suitor as they spend a week loitering in a neon-frazzled Tokyo. True, too, that the hushed climax fits the enigmatic vibe of two lost souls making an unspoken connection. But - (whisper) it - it's often static and bland.
Not to mention self-indulgent. The kind of mild-mannered comedy where any overt laughter comes whistling through the nose, it's tempting to view Sofia Coppola's movie as the cinematic equivalent of one of those ubiquitous chill-out albums for Generation Dinner Party. The Air-cushioned soundtrack; the languid edits; the jet-lagged vibe... Coppola's wearing her film-student beret here, and no amount of woozy ambience can cloak the immature indulgences (the Nouvelle Vague stylistic winks are total eye-rollers). Sweet, slim, a little so-what, it passes the time but the impact is negligible.