Movie review: Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, starring Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz

[Editor's Note: Tampa lawyer Roger Breit was the recipient of CL Holiday Auction item #41: Be A Movie Critic!, a gift from his longtime movie-going friend who thought it long past time that Roger was granted a soapbox from which to share his film criticism. Thanks to the generosity of people just like Roger's friend, The CL Online Holiday Auction raised more than $12,000 for The Children's Home. Take it away, Roger ...]

In The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson presents himself as a Jackson-of-all-trades (or in this case, themes) but a master of none. The movie (based on the best-selling 2002 novel by Alice Sebold) wants to be a murder-thriller, a ghost story, a family drama, an exploration of the afterlife and an examination of what things in life are truly important. Unfortunately, by trying to tackle so many meaty themes, Jackson gives short shrift to all of them. The director also keeps flipping the viewer between a beautifully convincing recreation of the early 1970s and an afterlife that resembles a Robert Rodriguez kids' movie. Imagine alternating between Milk and one of the Oompa Loompa numbers from Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and you'll get the general idea.