"I don't know how to begin, because the story's been told before," croons Nora Jones on the soundtrack during the opening of My Blueberry Nights, and it seems a similar problem afflicts Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai, who makes his English language debut with this gorgeous if slight saga about aimless Elizabeth's (Jones) search for herself via a cross-country journey. It's not so much that Wong doesn't know how to commence this specific tale but, instead, that he doesn't know how to start anew, as his latest proves a minor stateside revisitation (or, perhaps more accurately, a rehash) of his favorite thematic and aesthetic preoccupations.

Despite being shot by Darius Khondji and not the director's longtime collaborator Christopher Doyle, the film offers up a handy compendium of his favorite visual signatures - the smeary slow-motion, the hyper-vibrant, sharp-and-soft color palette, framing and tracking shots that dreamily highlight the distance between individuals - while his narrative continues a career-long obsession with the intricacies of romance and the imperative role of memory (regarding both love and loss). It's as light, fluffy and attractive as the blueberry pies that Manhattan café owner Jeremy (Jude Law) serves Elizabeth late at night, but ultimately, also, far less satisfying.