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Oscar M. Night 

Wednesday, Mar 8 2006
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The self-congratulatory show-biz bonanza on Sunday night didn’t seem to end when the Oscars went to commercial. There was M. Night Shyamalan’s preciously weird American Express ad to contend with, part of the “My Life, My Card” campaign, in which various celebrities — Robert De Niro, Kate Winslet, Tiger Woods — offer up arty confessional narration that I guess is supposed to induce you to sign up for the piece of plastic that makes you pay off your balance in full each month. (Is there something aesthetically displeasing about finance charges?) In any case, Shyamalan’s version — which he directed and stars in — is a supposed peek inside his fantastical observer’s prism: The twist-ending auteur apparently can’t seem to enjoy a simple lunch without noticing (or is it — get ready to have your mind blown — that he can’t help imagining?) that his ordinary-seeming restaurant is filled with characters just this side of bizarre. See, it must be how he gets his spooky stories! At that table, there’s a hooded guy with a missing face and tattoos on his arms like the crop circles in Signs! And some patrons have companions who mysteriously disappear, like they’re Sixth Sense dead people! And that woman stuck out her tongue and caught a fly, like .?.?. in .?.?. was that in The Village? No, wait, that was my reaction when I sawThe Village.

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