Film Review: Waiting for Forever

As annoyingly nonsensical as its title, this film makes a would-be compassionate case for—wait for it—stalkers.

Will (Tom Sturridge) is one of those determinedly naive characters so traditionally beloved by filmmakers (if not filmgoers), who wanders the world as a street performer, juggling while dressed in a bowler hat and the ever more depressingly popular pajamas. He returns home to Tinytown, Pennsylvania, where his childlike antics irritate his conventional banker brother Jim (Scott Mechlowicz). Will's real reason for his homecoming is his childhood friend Emma (Rachel Bilson, pretty as a picture, and so what?), who showed him love at an early age, from which he never recovered.

Will, you see, is nothing more than a stalker, and it is the premise of James Keach's idiotic simper of a film that you find his behavior not only somehow justifiable, but irresistible. It's been a weirdly unnerving development in screen history that the adorable, little lost waifs the world once loved, starting from Mary Pickford through Janet Gaynor, Luise Rainer, Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow, have been replaced in modern times by even wispier man-child counterparts: Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon and Edward Scissorshands, Hugh Dancy in Adam, and now Sturridge, who's high-school handsome but completely fails to make his wounded puppy of a role appealing in any way.

"Why should we care?" is the reaction you’ll likely have while watching the fey Waiting for Forever. Keach tries to amp things up in the last act by throwing in a supposed murder that is merely groan-inducing, especially when you realize that this will only extend the already excruciating exposition. It's typical of the script's shoddy, facile conception that Emma is not just some small-town sweetheart, but a real live TV star to boot, taking some down time from her sadly unfulfilling career and mean boyfriend (Matthew Grant) with the folks back home. They, unfortunately, provide no respite from the general torpor, with Richard Jenkins giving a tiresome performance as Emma's angry, dying dad, and Blythe Danner wasted as her cheerful fool of a mom.