STONE You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

I IMAGINE there is only one thing in the world more tiresome than sitting through a movie that thinks it is better than it actually is. That other thing is being the person whose job it is to give Edward Norton cornrows.

Norton busts out the cornrows, and some tatts, and a skeevy goatee to play Stone in... uh, Stone. Stone's a crook who's up for parole; Jack Mabrey (Robert De Niro) is the parole officer who has to decide whether to let him out of the slammer; and Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) is Stone's way-too-hot wife, a woman who's willing to do anything—including fucking Mabrey—to help get Stone out of jail. Also important (I guess) is Mabrey's wife, Madylyn (Frances Conroy), who spends her time reading the Bible and drinking herself into a stupor.

Stone feels less like a film than a play (unsurprisingly, Angus MacLachlan's flat screenplay was originally intended for the stage), with long stretches of dialogue between De Niro and Norton, De Niro and Jovovich, and De Niro and Conroy. Alas, even when director John Curran forcibly pushes things in a more cinematic direction, the results are boring as hell: awkwardly obvious symbolism and lazy juxtapositions are the order of the day, with limp plotting connecting the dots between empty transgressions and hollow revelations. De Niro, Norton, and Jovovich's performances are fine, Conroy stares blankly into the middle distance, and the whole thing goes on for 14 hours and never says anything worthwhile.