When does a home movie deserve to be shown to people other than close friends and relatives? Documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee inexplicably earned a national release for this narcissistic consideration of McElwee’s mildly interesting family history. It likely would put most of his distant aunts and uncles to sleep, let alone mainstream America. A native of North Carolina, McElwee returns from his Massachusetts home to the south, where he tries to force a vague theme out of family lore revolving around his great-grandfather, a tobacco baron; the current effects of lung cancer on society; and McElwee’s guilt over the connections between the two subjects. Certainly an intriguing documentary could have been made of such material, but McElwee seems to be content to do little more than fiddle with a camera as he drones on from topic to topic. I don’t really mind McElwee’s method of meandering, but he never really meanders to a definite subject. “Sometimes I find it’s such a pleasure to film – especially in the south – that it doesn’t really matter what I’m filming,” McElwee says at one point. Bright Leaves makes that sentiment all too obvious.