Like many complex novels crammed into 100-page screenplays, Tulip Fever is a mess of too many subplots, all awkwardly condensed and fighting for screen time.
To paraphrase Bill Murray's famous line from Tootsie, the long-delayed Tulip Fever is one nutty 17th century melodrama.
All told, this movie about love during a bubble is a bust.
Forget fever -- this floral-scented fiasco is so lifeless you can barely feel a pulse.
Under close analysis, none of this elaborate subterfuge makes much sense, but the film is so polished in its technical proficiency that I found the absence of logic forgivable.
As Chadwick piles on the coincidences and misdirections, the movie finally collapses under its own schematic weight, and wilts to the ground.
A film that's been repeatedly edited into a bizarre, boring final product that packs as much punch as a light sneeze or a gentle cough. A fever it is not.
It is your run-of-the mill period drama that plays it safe - certainly not daring enough to offend or to truly captivate.
It's often difficult to tell whether Tulip Fever is supposed to be soap or farce (probably neither, but there is just enough genuine comic relief amidst the sudsy absurdity to confuse the issue).