Margot at the Wedding is a film torpedoed by its own self-indulgence. The film starts by offering us a thin premise -- a frosty,
Jack Black is the third lead as Malcolm, Pauline's soon-to-be-husband who has no job and no ambition to do anything except possibly commit infidelity. It's hard to say whether Noah Baumbach hired Black to play a thinly-disguised version of himself or whether he intended to have him do heavy lifting, acting-wise, because there's an odd mixture of both on display. There are moments when he's simply playing his part with none of his usual verbal or physical affectations, and there are other moments, such as in a late scene where he's supposed to be doing some crying, when he's unwisely allowed to lapse into a light version of Jack Black schtick. Both incarnations of his character seem to be a noticeably bad match for Jennifer Jason Leigh, by the way. Her natural gravitas doesn't mesh well with his absurdist persona, and whenever they are together on screen, there's a palpable sense of 'acting' going on that undermines Jason Leigh's seemingly honest attempts at character development. Theirs is just one of several of the film's actor pairings that don't seem very natural.