Concerning 2046, arthouse darling Wong Kar-wai's follow-up to In the Mood for Love, I'm tempted to say the emperor has no clothes. But clothes are one thing the movie does have, that and a number of gorgeous women to pour into them. In the Mood for Love, for those of you who didn't have the pleasure, was about a man and a woman who, after discovering that their spouses were having an affair, had one of their own, sort of. We never actually saw them do it, and maybe they didn't do it after all. But Wong, who knows how to create a hothouse atmosphere, got more juice out of the mere possibility than most directors would get out of the real thing.
Now it's several years later, and Tony Leung's Chow Mo Wan is still trying to get over whatever did or didn't happen to him. He may be ruined for life, but if so, he sure makes the case for no longer giving a damn, surrounding himself with beautifully mysterious women played by the likes of Gong Li, Faye Wong and Ziyi Zhang, the latter having totally grown up since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It's all very sexy, in an over-the-top kind of way. But it's also kind of boring. A melancholy reverie about love lost, time past, memories fading into regret, 2046 is a little too claustrophobic, too airless, like a hermetically sealed envelope, even if it's sealed with a kiss.