Acting mediocre in Celtic love story

All through the two hours and five minutes of “Tristan ‘ Isolde,” one overwhelming question kept popping up in my mind, distracting me from director Kevin Reynolds’ shoddy take on the ancient Celtic love story:

“Isn’t that guy playing Tristan (James Franco) on an Abercrombie and Fitch billboard on I-71 North?”

I checked on the way home and sure enough it wasn’t, but after the “Tristan and Isolde” run, Franco should give some serious thought to that field of work. He’s got the melancholy “gaze and pout” face down flat.

“Tristan ‘ Isolde” is the story of two strikingly good-looking lovers. Tristan is an English knight who is assumed dead when he falls in a battle against the Irish enemy. He’s sent out on a funeral boat and washes up on an Irish shore where Isolde (Sophia Myles) the daughter of the Irish king finds him and nurses him back to health in a seaside cave. Though Isolde keeps her identity secret, they fall madly in love “Romeo and Juliet” style. Their cave-getaway fantasy is short-lived, however, as the Irish discover his existence and he is forced to flee back to England. Once there, Tristan hears of a competition in which the Irish king offers his daughter in marriage to the victor. Not knowing that the King’s daughter is Isolde, he offers to win her hand for his mentor, Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell). He wins of course and now Isolde is forced to marry Marke. What a mess for poor Tristan and Isolde!

Franco’s only contribution to the movie was the addition of his eye candy skills, and while Myles adds another beautiful face to the mix, her poetic musing, forced sarcasm and fake-sounding tries at feminist independence are ultimately too intense to be believable.

The one character in this mediocre and clich