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For example, if I go and see a movie that I perceive to have placed so much effort on the artistic merit of the acting and cleverness of the storyline that it is difficult to call it a success as a movie.

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You just described Primer imdb.com/title/tt0390384 –  RiMMER Jan 13 '12 at 17:17
    
Possibly vainglorious? But I'd prefer to coin a new word "grandelinquent" (similar in form to grandiloquent). –  Ben Jan 13 '12 at 17:41
    
I would describe the situation as ironic. –  MετάEd Jan 13 '12 at 18:28
    
Overegged pudding? Gilded lily? Overblown? We must have hundreds of expressions for this context. –  FumbleFingers Jan 13 '12 at 18:58
    
Would perfectionism work? Although in that case, it's usually that the work fails to be completed because of the obsession with detail. –  Jordan Reiter Jan 13 '12 at 20:02

7 Answers 7

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think you're looking for a term like affected.

affected |əˈfektid|
adjective
2 artificial, pretentious, and designed to impress: the gesture appeared both affected and stagy. [NOAD]

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Too artful or contrived. Too clever by half(BrE). Up its own arse(BrE, vulg.)

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Is "too clever by half" only BrE? –  Charles Jan 16 '12 at 3:34

Consider hubristic, the adjectival form of hubris. Wikipedia says:

Hubris... means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities...

Also consider Icarus-like, as the myth of Icarus is often seen as a "tragic example of hubris or failed ambition".

Some words or phrases that might appear in reviews include misguided, flawed (or failed) vision, imperfect, overthought, unsound, arrogant, overreaching and synonyms of same.

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It might be detractive , detractory. Detract= To reduce the value, importance, or quality of something. Often used with from:

Testimony that only detracts from the strength of the plaintiff's case.
Her anger detracts from her beauty

In another sense it might be "distractive". Distract=To cause to turn away from the original focus of attention or interest.

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Detract is often used in the sense you cite, but frankly I doubt I've ever heard or read detractive or detractory in my whole life up to now. I've just discovered through NGrams that detractory was (rarely) used a couple of centuries ago, and detractive doesn't look exactly "current" either. –  FumbleFingers Jan 15 '12 at 2:42
    
@FumbleFingers: From Wordnet database, detracive (adj): causing to decrease in importance or value. I agree with you that the usage rate is low. –  Mustafa Jan 15 '12 at 8:02
    
Well I'm certainly not denying that detractive , detractory are/were actually "valid words". And a low usage rate doesn't mean a word shouldn't be promoted here (I see nothing wrong with crapulent, for example). It's the fact that they've largely fallen into disuse that bothers me about these two inflected forms of the perfectly ordinary word detract. –  FumbleFingers Jan 15 '12 at 14:22

I'd say that the people who made the movie

couldn't see the forest for the trees,

meaning they were too focused on details to worry about the big picture.

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+1 for not seeing the bigger picture - definitely apposite in OP's context! –  FumbleFingers Jan 15 '12 at 2:46

misplugged, to coin a word.

[see plug verb ( ADVERTISE ) UK US /plʌg/]

Plugging is rampant. It could be the right focus or misplaced focus. Overemphasizing the wrong aspect leads to diversion.

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Heavy-handed comes to mind.

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