Great-looking but bland biography of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Apparently this film was a real labor of love for its star Salma Hayek (she's also credited as a producer). Which makes me wonder if the reason she hasn't been in many films lately is because she'd been so focused on getting this one off the ground, or if the reason she wanted to make Frida was because she wasn't getting any work.

Anyway, labor of love or not, Hayek is a mediocre actress at best, and I got the feeling in every scene that her passion for making this film was less about her love for Frida Kahlo, and more about her desire for an Oscar. Her wan talents are matched by a script that falls into the typical biopic trap: instead of trying to capture the essence of the film's subject, it attempts to cram every detail of her life into two hours. Frida is little more than a history lesson. If it weren't for the copious amounts of sex, it would be something you'd watch in a high school art class.

Hagiographic, obvious, and overladen with recognizable stars trying on phony accents (though Alfred Molina is all right as Diego Rivera, Kahlo's lifelong love, who threatens to usurp the story from her constantly), Frida is too full of distractions to make any real point about who Kahlo was, or why she stuck with the womanizing Rivera, or ultimately what her place is in art history.

The surprising thing is that director Taymor (best known for her stage adaptation of The Lion King and the film Titus), a gifted visual artist in her own right, exhibits no personal connection between herself and Kahlo, as women striving for greatness in a male-dominated field. The lack of personality and passion in a film about a woman who created some of the most personal and passionate artwork of the twentieth century is more than regrettable - it's a crime.

Frida, in short, is a bore, Hayek's body and some nifty animated sequences notwithstanding.