Ben Kingsley isn't known for his consistency. In 2008 alone, he appeared in one of his best movies to date, the underrated and ignored The Wackness, and one of his worst, the criminally unfunny The Love Guru.

Ben Kingsley isn't known for his consistency. In 2008 alone, he appeared in one of his best movies to date, the underrated and ignored The Wackness, and one of his worst, the criminally unfunny The Love Guru.

Based on the Philip Roth novel The Dying Animal, Elegy falls somewhere in the middle on the Kingsley quality scale. Joined by a stellar supporting cast of Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Hopper and Peter Sarsgaard, Kingsley has helped create an introspective look at a male late-life crisis that never quite comes together.

David Kepesh (Kingsley) is a professor and cultural critic with a habit of seducing his more attractive students. His latest crush is Consuela (Cruz), a grad student more than happy to return his advances.

"Elegy"

Opens Friday at the Drexel East

Grade: B-

Ultimately believing the age difference will doom the relationship, David seeks confirmation from his friend George (Hopper). Besides, his love for Consuela is hurting his relationship with long-time lover Carolyn (Clarkson), even though she's not the one he really wants.

Director Isabel Coixet - who made 2003's magnificent My Life Without Me - has all the workings of a brilliant movie, which is an accomplishment when working with Roth's source material, but the film is a bit too slow and the third act is a bit too basic.

Nevertheless, in addition to garnering a solid performance from Kingsley, Coixet has given Cruz her best English-language role to date, and it's a performance well worth the price of admission.