For nearly three hours, David Fincher’s baffling The Curious Case of Benjamin Button sustains a surprising level of simplistic sentiment toward the life and love of its titular character. Fincher, usually a master of methodical mayhem, constructs his huge story around surging moments of emotional transition even though Benjamin’s (Brad Pitt) personality never achieves a depth in character beyond his kind smile and sensitive demeanor. It’s this contradiction that overwhelms the better moments of magical whimsey throughout the film; like when Benjamin bursts from childbirth a young soul within a decrepit old baby body, then later joins a grungy tug boat crew and experiences WWII first hand. As Benjamin begins to grapple with the reality of mentally growing old while physically growing younger, the film heads into dangerously false territory (the hummingbird, flashbacks). In the end, the flimsy structure and script overwhelm Fincher’s visual bravado and Pitt’s stirring performance, proving Benjamin Button an epic misfire with little more on its mind than overt symbolism.