Having introduced us to Generation X-ers in "Slacker", directionless inter-railers in "Before Sunrise", and Texas school kids in "Dazed & Confused", Richard Linklater now brings us "Waking Life", in which he revisits said characters with his camera and a pack of crayons.
The main talking point in "Waking Life" is its innovative animation. Shooting scenes initially on video, Linklater subsequently painted over them using Rotoscope technology similar to that used by Ralph Bakshi for his version of "Lord of the Rings". The end product is a film that's visually dazzling, if not genuinely ground-breaking.
And to what end does Linklater use this technique? To introduce us to people you'd contract diseases to avoid. Seriously, you'll find more self-involvement and cod philosophising here than in all the world's coffee houses.
Worse still, most of the nonsense is spouted by people we liked in Linklater's earlier movies. And this is the film's real failing - the director's inability to leave his previous pictures alone.
For fans of "Dazed & Confused", Wiley Wiggins is frozen in time, listening to Aerosmith after the night of his life. But thanks to Linklater, we now find him wandering around in a dream-like state, chatting to people you'd cheerfully take a chair to.
The same goes for the star-crossed couple from "Before Sunrise", played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. That film works because we're left hoping they'll somehow get it together. "Waking Life", however, destroys that magic at a stroke by showing the pair in bed contemplating what happens to you when you die.
Rest assured, whatever happens, it won't be as bad as watching "Waking Life".