Charles Baxter’s multicharacter novel about the smitten and the heartbroken cries out for a director like Robert Altman to layer its messy sentimentality with irony and insight. But the maestro of graceful, murallike storytelling isn’t returning anyone’s calls, and the once-mighty Robert Benton has sadly lost his touch. The filmmaker’s woeful stab at Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2003) suggested that complex literary adaptations were no longer his strong point, and this sapfest confirms it; you can’t believe the man who gave us Kramer vs. Kramer could be responsible for this three-course tripe.
Never mind the coffeehouse owner (Kinnear) with rotten romantic luck (his wife goes sapphic after a fellow softball player pats her ass; use clichés much?) or the two photogenic hippies in heat. The sole interesting relationship is between an older couple played by Morgan Freeman and Jane Alexander. As autumnal spouses generating a genuine sense of shared history, you’d almost believe they were actually married. Yet even their tale isn’t immune to the After-School Special sermonizing and convenient convergences of fate. This Feast is movable yet incredibly lifeless, and doesn’t say anything about love—of the true, mad or puppy variations—that a greeting card couldn’t put more succinctly
Cast and crew