Saturday, October 31, 2009

Despite title, this movie is not a Godsend

Godsend (2004)
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Robert De Niro, and Cameron Bright
Director: Nick Hamm
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A couple (Kinnear and Romijn-Stamos) agree to have their dead son cloned by a enigmatic doctor (De Niro) with inscrutable motives. Eventually, they discover that something is horribly wrong with their second first child...

"Godsend" attempts at being a science fiction film and a thriller and it fails miserably at both. It's based on science so nonsensical that even the most openminded and willing to suspend disbelief viewer will be rolling their eyes, and the plot only gets worse when you toss in the spiritual/reincarnation/cosmic destiny component. Worse, the story is the worse kind of stupid, because there are far, far easier and more sensible ways for the story's bad guy to achieve his goals. (The rationale for the lame complications in the story might be "he's crazy", but that's the sort of cop-out that no remotely professional writer should ever have to fall back on. It's the only one that seems to apply here, however.)

Greg Kinnear gives one of the most over-the-top, hammish performances in the history of cinema, Cameron Bright is his usual Creepy Kid character, and Robert De Niro seems to just be there to collect a quick paycheck. Romijn-Stamos is okay, but she was better in "Lies and Alibies", which isn't saying much.

If you want to see a thriller that includes a cloning angle and a modern-day spin on the whole "tampering with things Man Was Not Mean to Know" spin to it, you're better off seeking out a copy of the 1976 sci-fi thriller "Embryo" with Rock Hudson. It's a superior movie on every level (and one I just realized I still have never written a review for. I'll have to rectify that in short order).

Trivia: Robert Di Niro was originally slated to play little more than a cameo, but once production started, it was decided to expand his character's role in the story. Maybe what we have here is the result of first draft efforts making their way into a final product.

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