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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.04%
Worth A Look: 4.23%
Average: 14.08%
Pretty Bad42.25%
Total Crap: 32.39%

7 reviews, 29 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Even John Stamos Found A Way Not To See It"
2 stars

Medical thrillers always have the potential to be fascinating when the filmmakers manage to successfully merge a Hitchcockian scenario with the capacity for abstract thought. Coma was a lot like that and so was the overlooked Hugh Grant suspenser, Extreme Measures. Godsend promises to take us into the world of cloning, both scientifically fascinating and morally ambiguous. It barely takes a half-hour though for director Nick Hamm and screenwriter Mark Bomback to abandon the intrigue and substitute cheap scares on its way to snickerville.

Paul and Jessie Duncan (Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romjyn-Stamos) have a kid. And then they don’t. You know how mommy always told you not to chase after your ball in a construction site on a busy city street cause some skateboarder may cause a Final Destination-like chain of events that will cause you to get hit by a flying car? Well, Adam didn’t listen.

And in a film about the creation of life, it’s inevitable that some character was going to be named Adam. It has to be the little boy too since Kinnear was originally called Saul and Robert DeNiro plays the genius doctor, Richard Wells. (Hint: Richard is longform for “Dick”)

Dr. Wells proposes the idea to the grieving parents. Paul, being the biology teacher that he is, rejects the idea on moral grounds but Eve, I mean Jessie (and not Uncle Jessie, I mean the ex-wife) wants to give it a shot. Everything goes to plan right down to the exact number of seconds it took the original Adam to cry after being ejected from the birth canal. (Insert your own John Stamos joke.) By the 25-minute mark, we’re at another 8th birthday party for Adam and mommy-and-daddy are getting down to do the other devil’s work.

At this point, Adam begins having “night terrors” or as us common folk like to refer to them – “BAD DREAMS!!!” You haven't so far - don't try to science-up your flick with fancy terminology now. He’s having visions of perhaps a life-once-lived. Is his pre-reincarnated past coming back to haunt him? Maybe even possessing him since he’s projecting some abnormal behavior? Is this the path the original Adam was predestined to live out? Or is it because he’s just got a new and improved evil haircut?

From this point on, Godsend’s script consists of the following template: Adam has haunting vision, he may or may not act evil, parents are concerned, they go talk to Dr. Dick, second verse same as the first. I would bet my $9 that those interested in the film’s premise aren’t headed to the theater to see an Omen-like ghost story. It won’t take long for most viewers to register something fishy in DeNiro’s paternal tendencies towards the new Adam. There’s even a half-baked scene suggesting the doctor wants to ingratitate himself into Jessie’s family without Paul around. But like most all of Godsend, it’s an idea barely put in the oven.

It would have been great to see some development of the implied idea that parents can lose the grip of their child through no fault of their nurturing skills; just something fated in the genetic code. Sometimes they can do everything right and still watch them go off and shoot-up their high school. Maybe not the most exciting of plotlines but it couldn’t be less boring than hearing loud noises cue the film’s scare tactics or listening to unstable nannies confess. Actually that latter part is one of several hoots in the final half-hour, including a completely tacked-on ending that suggests a more nefarious, tragic one will show up on the DVD.

The researchers of Godsend must have seen an article on page 12 rather than look up any actual books on the subject. Filmgoers shouldn’t have to depend on Arnold Schwarzenegger films (The 6th Day) to hear intellectual ruminations on the moral uncertainty of our leaps in science. In Extreme Measures, Gene Hackman had great orations on how it’s necessary for someone to die for millions to be helped. It made us rethink our position. Here all DeNiro gets to do is yell about Pandora’s Box about 15 minutes after Romjyn has told her son “you shouldn’t open that box.” Where’s the moral question? What are both sides of the issue? Are we worried that the cloned will develop some strand of PMS (Past Memory Syndrome) and cause their reincarnated selves to go looking for axes? Or have we been suckered into another cloned idea that should have been aborted at the minute of conception?

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originally posted: 04/30/04 14:03:32
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User Comments

2/21/07 deja review this was actually writen by 1000 monkeys at keyboards 1 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller With this & Hide and Seek, DeNiro must now answer for his crimes against humanity. 1 stars
8/05/05 -- -c h a rLZz--... this movie is cool.. 3 stars
2/25/05 L.G. Great premise/concept... poorly executed... I don't remember much 2 stars
2/20/05 lj i can't believe deniro stooped to this role 1 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Creepy and disturbing! 4 stars
2/07/05 ELI Jeeeeeeeez. It wasn't THAT bad! I got scared at least twice and that's good. 3 stars
11/08/04 Dave Yadda yadda what a load of fucked up verbal Diorreah 1 stars
10/30/04 Fabio Pereira It's a great film, awesome!and we want a second part in this film, a continuation! 5 stars
10/13/04 Kyle Another example of a good cast wasted. I fell asleep. 2 stars
9/23/04 verveluz diaz it only shows how powerful God is. 5 stars
9/06/04 Megan & Marcus This movie sucked!!!! 1 stars
9/05/04 elmokeys One of the worst of all time 1 stars
8/31/04 Bojangles This is a great wholesome family film. 5 stars
8/24/04 ownerofdajoint good first 30minutes,then garbled,then total confusion.very disappointing 2 stars
8/20/04 fat albert blah blah bland 2 stars
8/17/04 Dog_gone Okay, seriously, lighten up, it's just a movie 4 stars
8/07/04 howdinski not a very good film even de niro is not on form. would not recommend 2 stars
7/29/04 I didn't know God had an end Despite preposterous premise, a good thriller until ending...duh, WHAT ending? 3 stars
7/20/04 sada interesting 4 stars
7/12/04 john bale Hit with Strange Child Syndrome Kinnear emulates Bruce Willis, but De Nero is out to lunch. 3 stars
5/29/04 Suzette I loved it! It was good! Kinnear was excellent! 5 stars
5/24/04 Wolf It was SO BAD I WALKED OUT OF IT after Kinnear got hit with the candlestick. 1 stars
5/17/04 Lennie Boring, muddled, disappointing 1 stars
5/15/04 veronica Loved it 5 stars
5/14/04 Nicole Becken laughingly inane, bad movie, bad! 1 stars
5/04/04 Chris A wierd amalgam of various sceens that are stolen from better movies 1 stars
5/04/04 X I want my money back! 1 stars
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  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004



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