Underneath the shellacked misogynist surface of this tribute to male vanity is a whiny, softy-puffy self-actualization trip worthy of its own Precious Moments figurines. Well, only one figurine, really—Cal, a young man stifled by the fact of marriage and fatherhood, who ditches his family on his son’s third birthday and takes on a journey of self-discovery via banging a series of barflies and getting hammered at every opportunity. The role of Cal is one of those classic Tom Cruise parts, all knife-edge smiles and cavalier selfishness reflexively forgiven, even admired, by willing women and lesser male specimens. But as played by Billy Crudup, Cal is both more interesting and more hateful, because we zip right past the charisma of the actor—Crudup’s stardom doesn’t overshadow his parts and probably never will; he’s too complex a performer and has no desire to be lovable—and find ourselves staring directly into the cold heart of the character. Cal’s appalling behavior at the film’s start (“P.S. Don’t be mad at me,” he writes jauntily in a letter to his son) indicates that this journey will make him a better person, but because he’s so irresistible, no obstacles lie in his path. He drags a gentlemanly recovering alcoholic back inside the bottle and paws the man’s wife, attracts women like flies to a dumpster (everyone talks about how gorgeous he is, and he responds with Cruise’s blank, if-you-say-so grin), and finally tracks down his own father (David Keith, perfectly cast) to whine about men who leave their families, whereupon it dawns on him to return to his own. At the end, he has a vision of everyone he’s touched—betrayed, seduced, abandoned at various rest stops—cheerily forgiving him. World Traveler is a chick movie for guys who believe marriage is suffocating and women are nuts, to whom it never occurs to grow up, go home, accept their responsibilities, and stop blaming everyone else because they can’t drink and screw around anymore. —Arion Berger