Will Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York Be Too, Too Dark?

We have a fundamental problem with the new trailer for Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York: it makes the movie look about as much fun as a funeral. Good golly this is depressing stuff!

Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as a 40-year-old theater director who, with his life collapsing around him, decides to stage a massive theater production in upstate New York by recreating all of Manhattan in a warehouse. No, it doesn’t make sense, but hey, what do you want? It’s Charlie Kaufman we’re talking about here. The dude made an entire movie about going into John Malkovich’s head.

The cast is top-notch, which isn’t surprising. Mr. Kaufman has lined up a who’s who of appealing actresses, among them, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samantha Morton. Those ladies, in addition to Mr. Hoffman, should be enough to make us run out and see Synecdoche, New York when it’s released at the end of October. But when a story is described as “one of those rare films that deals with death, excruciating illness, gross bodily fluids, despair, heartbreak and bad sex but can still bring a twinkle to the eye,” we think we might have to pass. Does that sound like something you’d want to spend $12 on? The only thing we see coming to our eyes is the look of sheer horror.

Mr. Kaufman is one of Hollywood’s most interesting writers, but this sounds even too bleak for us. And we usually thrive on bleak! The trailer is over at Yahoo! Movies, so you can judge for yourself.