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Bill Murray's minimalism as an actor combines with Jim Jarmusch's as a writer-director to yield a certain redundancy, making this comedy Jarmusch's starkest feature to date. The tragedy of Dead Man and Ghost Dog is missing, but there's genuine poignancy in the attempts of Murray, who plays a wealthy retiree in perpetual denial, to discover which of his former girlfriends (played by Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton) is the mother of the 19-year-old son who he's been told may be looking for him. The sadness of his life (and theirs) is palpable; still, there's an undeniable sweetness to Murray's friendship with his next-door neighbor (Jeffrey Wright), a working-class Ethiopian who facilitates his quest. R, 105 min.

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