By Owen Gleiberman
Updated April 11, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Bruce Birmelin

The paradox of a truly atrocious literary adaptation is that everything on screen — a crummy postcollegiate job, a love triangle, even a ?burglary — must be embedded with little wisps of higher ”meaning,” and therefore ends up meaning nothing at all. In The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, a stillborn rendering of Michael Chabon’s first novel, Jon Foster plays Art Bechstein, the son of a Jewish gangster (Nick Nolte), but he comes off as the dullest of WASP preppies. His fascination with a young couple — heartfelt Jane (Sienna Miller) and her pretentious, chopper-riding, bisexual boyfriend Cleveland (Peter Sarsgaard) — ?plays like Gossip Girl written by a bad F. Scott Fitzgerald imitator. D

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