It plays out like a wild brainstorming session that keeps picking up steam and spiraling out of control. This is initially fun, particularly as the movie goes for dark/awkward laughs early on. As new ideas kept getting introduced, and the occasionally clever, occasionally clichéd narrative tools started piling on, I longed for some more development, instead of the kitchen sink approach. There are many good ideas, like a forgotten diary that continues to update the status of the characters lost daughter, but the execution feels a little tossed off, and it becomes just one of many devices. Use of time takes foreground for a period and then gets pushed back as other ideas compete for the foreground. It would all seem more audacious, if there weren't more cinematic precedents - 8½ was an obvious influence and in many ways this is an inventive re-imagining of those themes of ego, gender/human relations, human insecurities and creative insecurities, fantasy vs. reality and inevitable death. It also unravels like another Fellini picture La Dolce Vita, exhaustively frustrating the audience and infecting it with the characters bleak and ugly disillusionment. Unfortunately I found it less cinematically inspired than these earlier films. It often feels like a cold exercise; an exponential puzzle to work through creative neurosis, alienation, artistic pressures, and impossible ambitions. It's an alienating film about alienation, making for alienated viewer? It's very difficult to make a connection almost by design. Samantha Morton's Hazel who provides some of the only heart in this film and she is excellent, but if the way she is drawn to Hoffman's Kaden is intended to be contagious, I was left with sympathy for almost to no one. Hoffman is also excellent, if completely unlikable by design. And there are "bright" spots throughout. Kaden's assuming of the Ellen role figuratively (before it becomes literal) was a truly inspired, and beautiful bit. Additionally the cast, featuring under-utilized talent like Dianne Wiest are a pleasure to watch (even briefly). The lack of restraint, while interesting is a just little unsatisfying, and intended or not, is dragging by the end. I truly think Kaufman has interesting ideas, but needs editing (why the blimp?) and some focus and rhythm.