I have a relaxation thing I do when I'm trying to go to sleep: I listen to an audio dramatization of something or other. As I listen, I create mental pictures of the scenario being acted out, but make everything as ridiculously literal as possible. If one of the characters tells the other, "You're like a lion," I adjust my mental image to make that person a literal lion. This engages my brain just enough that I don't wander off and start obsessing about my day (which is what keeps me awake the most at night) but not enough that I stay focused on it, and I drift off to sleep.
Watching this movie was surreal, because that was what happened. Every metaphor was shown to us in literal form on the screen, especially once it hit the section with the hallucinations/dreams/whatever the heck those were. But what is a relaxing mental exercise in my mind is creepy and bizarre and awkward to follow visually in a movie. That point is when the movie lost me. I was mildly interested in the story up until that point, and then I got almost 30 minutes of rambling dream sequence. That finally ended, but the movie never really won back my trust or my interest.
I haven't read all of Ulysses yet, but any attempt to film it is quite audacious. The movie succeeds at its own level, and reminds me of 8 1/2 in several stylistic ways.
BTW, Flixster's synopsis may be the worst ever.