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Moonlight Mile is supposed to be a full-fledged heartstring-tugger: A young man moves in with his fiancee’s parents after she’s murdered to help them cope. But there’s little sorrow in the opening moments of frantic funeral-party schmoozing and little sympathy to be felt for characters who seem unfeeling for far too long. Neither Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal) nor his betrothed’s parents, Ben and JoJo (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon), shed a tear—or even come close—until more than halfway through the movie. Rather, the mood is workaday and irritated, as if all involved are annoyed at the particulars that must be attended to after a death and can’t wait to get the hordes of well-wishers out of their hair. Days after the funeral, Ben dives back into work with a smile on his face, JoJo gets pissed every time the phone or doorbell rings, and Joe starts flirting with Bertie (Ellen Pompeo, a sultrier Renee Zellweger), the local postmistress/barmaid who’s recently lost a love of her own. Surprisingly, given the movie’s overall lack of heaviness, director Brad Silberling’s attempts at humor—such as a pukey dog who happens to aim for unlikable guests’ shoes—feel forced and out of place. Though based on the 1989 murder of Silberling’s fiancee, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, Moonlight Mile is set in the ’70s, and the best thing about it is undoubtedly the soundtrack, packed with Dylan and Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones. It’s really too bad that it’s put to such intolerable use: As the film progresses, the songs cue faux-poignant moments in which each character is given a chance to break down and deliver a spotlight-worthy speech. By that time, you’ll care even less about what’s happening than the people onscreen. —Tricia Olszewski