Almost European in its purposelessness and Catholic in its liberal distribution of guilt, Magnolia is pure Hollywood in kitsch and ambition. This is the story, well if a meandering jargon of personal conceit can be called that, of a bunch of people half of whom are sick dying and the others are sick living. The conceit of this film is that of the director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogey Nights before and Punch Drunk Love after) who thinks making a claim on over three hours of our lives is justified as long as he can claim that what he is showing is the real stuff and if you are not getting it then you have been jaded by Hollywood.

The biggest problem with the film is that the collage of characters is utterly uninteresting. Each, a bigger bore than the previous. Each suffering a more severe verbal diarrhea than the other. Why should we care to watch the discarded lives of such?

The only interesting character in the film is that of the crazed male-sex God Frank T.J. Mackey played with a sincere passion not really warranted by this tepid brittle saga by Tom Cruise. Unfortunately, this character is destroyed by a dash of completely unwarranted sobering toward the end. Several other threads about severely screwed people are either just suggested or just made to make some arcane point.

Magnolia is a flower that has nothing to offer but believes it can be a pretty cauliflower by shaming to stand for something – something that it chooses to call art.