Fancying itself highly literate, this art house picture occasionally waxes a bit too poetic at times. But mostly, it quaintly paints in a real New Orleans shade of melancholy orange a faulted, intelligent, male chauvinist comfortably settled into a numb alcoholic depression.
John Travolta plays the once popular professor who now flexes his squatting rights in the home of his deceased artisan friend. Though John is a fine actor, he's not quite a match for this part, nor does his southern accent ring true. Perhaps Billy Bob Thornton would have made a better cast (or a slightly older Harry Connick Jr.).
That said, Scarlett Johansson is smashing as the artisan's daughter come to claim the home as well. She rattles the cage. She's bold, brass, brave, but also as she says with vulnerability, "Just a girl." Bobby Long's obscene soliloquies don't impress her, rather scare her. Still, she's not afraid to tell him to put the bottle down. Gabriel Macht plays Bobby's drinking, squatting buddy. Also a literary sort, he's supposedly writing bobby's bio into a book which is the scapegoat ambition of the two.
Overall, this picture is well acted, well directed, mildly amusing at every turn with an occasional hit to the heart that might inspire a tear.