Royal's Screwups

Anderson's film is like its characters: flawed genius

Upon leaving the film, a friend suggested, kindly, that The Royal Tenenbaumsbe seen as nothing more than a great pop song -- a three-minute smile spread over two hours. That observation is no real surprise: As in Rushmore Anderson loads his soundtrack with choice nuggets by Nick Drake, the Rolling Stones, Nico, and, finally, two selections from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, which he's wanted to use since Bottle Rocket. (Sadly the soundtrack this time around feels too pat, easy shorthand intended to fill in the copious blanks.) And you do want to cheer its ambitions, because The Royal Tenenbaumspossesses its moments of sheer delight and surprise.

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