This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"Broken Flowers" stars Bill Murray as Don Johnston, a man who made his money in computers and now doesn't even own one. To sit at the keyboard would mean moving from his sofa, where he seems to be stuck. As the film opens, his latest girlfriend (Julie Delpy) is moving out. She doesn't want to spend any more time with "an over-the-hill Don Juan." After she leaves, he remains on the sofa, listening to music. He reaches out for a glass of wine, changes his mind, lets the hand drop.
This is a man whose life is set on idle. His neighbor Winston (Jeffrey Wright), on the other hand, is a go-getter from Ethiopia who supports a wife and five kids with three jobs, and still has time to surf the net as an amateur detective. One day Don receives a letter suggesting that 20 years ago he fathered a son, and that a 19-year-old boy may be searching for him at this very moment. Don is unmoved by this intelligence, but Winston is energized; he extracts from Don the names of all the women who could possibly be the mother, and supplies Don with plane tickets and an itinerary, so that he can visit the candidates and figure out which one might have sent the letter.
"The letter is on pink stationery," Winston says. "Give them pink flowers and watch their reaction." Don nods, barely, and embarks on his journey -- not to discover if he has a child, so much as to discover if he wants a child. At one point he phones Winston from the road, complaining that he has been supplied with conventional rental cars. Why couldn't he have a Porsche? "I'm a stalker in a Taurus."
No actor is better than Bill Murray at doing nothing at all, and being fascinating while not doing it. Buster Keaton had the same gift for contemplating astonishing developments with absolute calm. Buster surrounded himself with slapstick, and in "Broken Flowers" Jim Jarmusch surrounds Murray with a parade of formidable women.