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Overall Rating
2.11

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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Godsend
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by MP Bartley

"Newsflash: Children are scary."
2 stars

Whatever happened to Robert DeNiro? He used to be a Goodfella, the Godfather, the Raging Bull, The King of Comedy. Now he's reduced to taking Mad Doctor roles like this, or sending up his Taxi Driver image alongside a cartoon chipmunk and moose and doing bad sequels with Billy Crystal. If the word Godsend is meant to imply a gift from the heavenly above, then I imagine Bobby will be down on his knees praying for a decent script this Christmas.

Paul and Jessie Duncan (Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) have it all. He's a popular biology teacher, she's a blossoming photographer and they have a-cute-as-a-button 8 year old, Adam (Cameron Bright, starting the spooky kid schtick he would re-use in the equally silly 'Birth'). This happiness is soon destroyed however when Adam is killed in a car accident. Paul and Jessie have barely began to grieve however when they're contacted by Jessie's old tutor and top genetic scientist (so her tutor is a top genetic scientist yet she's a...photographer? Just one example of the gaping holes of logic present here) Richard Wells (Robert DeNiro). He's pioneered a technique that can see Jessie impregnated with a cloned seed of Adam. So after discussing the moral and ethical issues and ramifications for about 8 minutes Paul and Jessie jump in and Adam mark 2 is born. Fast forward 8 years and all is not well: not only does everyone have the exact same hairstyle and seemingly not aged one bit, the clone of Adam has approached the point in life where the original Adam died, and is now suffering night terrors and hallucinations about murder and death. What can it all mean?

'Godsend' has a two-fold problem: the script by Mark Bomback is both silly and dull. It glosses over all the agonising moral issues it should raise just to get to point D from A as soon as possible (points B and C are conveniently ignored). And come the climax when the all-too-obvious villain makes themselves known (come on, who do you think it is?) the absurd contortions behind the plot are glibly explained in one line of dialogue. I'm no biologist but even I know that messing around with DNA and cloning is a little more difficult than baking a cake which is what 'Godsend' tries to convince us. Ah, but Cynical Movie Critic I hear you say, wasn't the science of 'Spider-Man' just as ludicrous? Why yes it was, but at least that was exciting. 'Godsend' however tries to pass itself off as a heavy, gothic slowburner along the lines of 'The Sixth Sense', but has none of the scares, intrigue or atmosphere of that. A shame as Nick Hamm's direction shows some promise. When Kinnear (who's far too good for the material here) learns of his sons death, it's done in near pitch-black with the just the outline of Paul's body shaking with grief.

Unfortunately it just descends into dull, long takes with no purpose or atmosphere behind them before finally imploding in on itself with the final stupid revelations, as characters are shown to be in a certain death situation only to conveniently reappear to save another character from certain death. There's a couple of mildly effective sequences with a bath tub and a wardrobe, but not enough to save it from a 'been here, seen it' feeling.

This sense of deja-vu (which I suppose is quite fitting) is partly down to the fact that Bomback's script simply isn't dark enough. When dealing with the issue of a possibly evil child, 'The Omen' or 'Rosemary's Baby' showed just how dark and chilling the effect is, if you're brave enough to take the idea to its logical conclusion. 'Godsend' however just wimps out, ending with a cheap jump that could come from any number of less-than-great horror flicks. And while the nightmare sequences start off creepily they quickly descend into cliched speeded-up zoom forwards whilst other children point and laugh. Which is either a) scary or b) reminiscent of most schools anywhere when you do something the least bit embarassing.

'Godsend' is far better than the similar 'Birth', simply because 'Godsend' has more excitement to the plot and is slightly less ridiculous. But that's like saying a snail may be faster than a slug in a race: you'd still not want to particularly watch it. It has the potential of a good premise, but that's all it remains: a wafer-thin premise which hasn't been built upon. And someone get DeNiro a new agent quick, before all his roles become pointless clones.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9282&reviewer=293
originally posted: 11/16/04 02:22:33
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User Comments

9/23/10 PAUL SHORTT BLAND HORROR DESPITE GOOD PERFORMANCES 2 stars
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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Jul-2004




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