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Sunshine (2000)

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 10/23/00 01:29:30

"...starring Ralph Fiennes as the entire population of 20th century Hungary."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Jesus H. Crap, what the hell is going on here? I've seen vanity projects before. But not even the dire horror of Battlefield Earth can hold a candle to this epic of Fiennes. I mean, good god, after seeing Ralph Fiennes play three different generations of people, for three hours, I'm starting to see his face in other people on the street. I could have swore the guy who sold me lunch was Ralph. The woman driving my bus into work also looked like Ralph. I'm serious, I really think it drove me nuts. If I see Ralph Fiennes' face one more time I'm going to go all Waterboy on someone's ass. Be warned.

So having said that, the news isn't all bad with Sunshine. It's interesting to a point. Jennifer Ehle gets naked, as does Deborah Kara Unger. Molly Parker doesn't, which was a bit of a let down. I can't even remember if Rachel Weisz did or not, which probably means she didn't, because I rarely forget such things.

What's with all these women getting their kecks off? Well, you see, the history of the Hungarian jew isn't a real strong basis for a financial return on a producer's investment. In layman's terms, if you want people to sit through a history lesson, you better flash some gash their way.

Sunshine is the story of about... oh, I dunno, I lost count... about seventy generations of Hungarian jews and how they were torn apart by political and social upheaval through the 20th century. Aparently they all looked like Ralph Fiennes, which is very unfortunate for them, but very fortunate for the producers since Ralph was available when they made the film. If they'd had to use Tom Arnold, I could see the box office appeal diminishing somewhat, although I'm told the French think he's a comedy genius.

Anyway, so Ralph plays Hungary-boy early in the century, and falls for his step-sister. I can understand it, as she's a redhead and she's stacked and she's gagging for it. So Ralphy #1 becomes a lawyer and a judge and a politician and then "whoopsie" there's a revolution and the system is brought down and Ralphy #1 goes all "I don't wanna work for you lousy bastards" and he dies, but it's cool, because he has a son who, BAM, looks like Ralph all of a sudden. It's like Ebola. One minute you're a normal kid, next minute you're Ralph Fiennes.

So Ralph #2 learns to fence and becomes so good he's like the Tyson of fencing. But in order to be the top of the tree, he needs to join the non-Jew fencing club. So of course, he does, because he looks like Ralph Fiennes and the aryans are down with that kind of look. The women seem to be too, because he gets Molly Parker to marry him just by being a smart-arse and then Rachel Weisz goes all 'rabbits head in the soup' because he won't do her, so he does her to keep the bunnies alive, which means we have to see his tool again.

So anyway, war hits and the jews are rounded up and Ralph is stripped naked (again) and killed, and then the commies ride in and take over and release the jews, but life is tough so they round the jews up again.

So of course, Ralph is dead again, so he's probably bored in his trailer doing crosswords or something and someone says "hey, why doesn't Ralphy play the kid of the kid of Ralph #1?" And Ralph's all like "yeah! I wanna play more! What's a six letter word for 'self-deprecating'?" So they let him play another character, probably without any sort of salary bonus, and by this time, I'm getting migraine. I mean, okay, so he plays three lead characters. And yeah, he's not a bad actor.

But does every single character need to A) take one hour to tell their story - B) shag one very hot actress and wave his nekkid tool at me on a 60 foot high screen - C) need to look EXACTLY the same as he did for the last two hours when he played two other characters....

If you strip away the 'Ralph dipping his wick in many women who are either married, family or nazis' sidelines, it's actually a very interesting story about how politics destroyed families for no good reason. But it's hard to maintain your concentration long enough to take in all the details when you're being thwapped in the sid of the head with Ralph's wedding tackle every fifteen minutes and being asked to believe that every generation of people in history all looked like 'Brother O'Joe'.

Seriously, clearly a lot of people were into this thing. There's a very decent cast at work. But why the jews sound like Cambridge graduates and the non-jews sound like nazis is a little beyond my understanding. Next time Mr Producer, bust out the wage budget a little and use three actors for three leads, so we can concentrate on the important aspects of the film. Oh, and tell Jennifer Ehle she has a nice bum.

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