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Overall Rating

Worth A Look34.78%
Average: 30.43%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 5 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"You will believe a man can fly. OK, you MIGHT believe it."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: I've been a Michael Rapaport fan since his performance in 1992's "Zebrahead." Aside from the amazingly awful sitcom that's currently paying the actor's mortgage, Mr. Rapaport has appeared in numerous worthwhile projects, from the indiest indie flick to a handful of mega-large-budget Hollywood projects. But apparently (and unfortunately) not many filmmakers have given Michael Rapaport enough room to anchor a leading role for his very own -- which is why I was really looking forward to "Special," and why I ended up liking the whole a whole darn lot.

The always-interesting Michael Rapaport (even in bad films, he's usually the best thing in 'em) stars as a male meter-maid / comic book geek called Les, an aimless and melancholy schlub who happily signs on to test a brand new prescription drug called "Special." The aim of the new drug is to eliminate self-doubt in the emotionally challenged folks who take it ... but "Special" ends up accomplishing a whole lot more than that.

After only a few days on the new drug regimen, Les discovers that he has all sorts of strange (and very cool) powers: he can run through walls, read peoples' minds, and, on occasion, levitate at will. The acerbic nerds who run his favorite comics shop are justifiably skeptical, the doc who handed out the drug is oddly unhelpful, and then there's the case of the two highfalutin' drug company execs who stalk Les from inside their limousine.

Does "Special" really inject Normal Joes with a variety of nifty 'superpowers' -- or is all of this just happening inside of Les' head? Most importantly: does it even matter? Isn't just believing that you're "special" enough to get you through the day?

These are a few of the questions that run rampant throughout Special, debut feature from co-directors Jeremy Passmore and Hal Haberman. Those looking for a sly and subtle indictment of the prescription drug industry will find much to appreciate in Special, while those content to focus on the 'surface story' will also find themselves suitably entertained. And those who call themselves fans of the Rapaport are in for a huge treat, because the veteran character actor delivers one of the strongest performances of his career.

Throughout my visit to Sundance '06, I recommended "Special" to anyone who was looking for a solid way to spend 90-some minutes. When asked what the flick was about, I described it as "if Kevin Smith directed Unbreakable," which I'll admit isn't completely accurate, but it was close enough to pique the interest of a whole lot of fest-folks. So if I managed to get an extra dozen people to see this strange, sad, and oddly amusing little movie, then I think I'm doing my job fairly well.

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originally posted: 01/29/06 07:48:13
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/12/11 mr.mike I preferred "Defendor". 3 stars
3/09/07 Dr Trendy Legbroken A very heartwarming film, not so good an ending 4 stars
11/05/06 Dr. Albert Chinzo i saw this at Edinburgh this summer and it was just fabulous. 4 stars
10/30/06 Kris Galuska Saw it at the Austin Film Festival. One of the best movies of the year. 5 stars
9/20/06 Bob Crackhower Excellent movie! 5 stars
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  21-Nov-2008 (R)
  DVD: 31-Mar-2009



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