Thursday, 17 October 2013

ODD THOMAS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2013 - QUIRKY rank incompetence!

The Most Obnoxious Romantic Duo EVER!!!
Chekhov from the awful STAR TREK reboot
and director Stephen Sommers's daughter!
Guaranteed to sicken you!
Odd Thomas (2013) *
Dir. Stephen Sommers
Starring: Anton Yelchin,
Ashley Sommers, Willem Dafoe
Review By Greg Klymkiw

Imagine a brain-bereft Joss (Buffy) Whedon, dollops of Stephanie (Twilight) Meyer-like pustules, a few worthless truckloads of Suzanne (Hunger Games) Collins progenitorial chaff, plus pretty much every other safe, tween-teen-oriented, potential-franchise genre-turds served up with globs of Rushmore and additional excretions of Wes Anderson's whimsical ilk, tossed into a blender with a hack director, a dull, derivative screenplay adaptation of a ho-hum Dean R. Koontz book, a less-than-compelling cast and lickety-split, you've got all the fixins' for a fantastical quirk-fest to ensure a rank, bilious expulsion.

Worst of all, the occasional hack competence of Stephen (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns) Sommers is woefully gone the way of the Dodo Bird here and we get something closer to the mess that was Van Helsing (or, God Help Us, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra). This might be the worst piece of direction Sommers has ever displayed. The movie's absurd rat-a-tat-tat pace pathetically attempts to render Howard Hawks-like ping-ponging line readings amidst a willy-nilly, scattershot approach to tossing out more scenes and turgid twists than one might find in the absolute rock-bottom Bollywood melodramas.

The whole affair feels as if it's been directed by someone who's ingested a few fields-full of the Khat plant - a sort-of Somali pirate school of helmsmanship.

Anton Yelchin (Chekhov from J.J. Abrams's awful Star Trek reboots) plays a small-town loser soda-counter server with the most obnoxious girlfriend ever conceived (a performance belched up by director Stephen Sommers's daughter Ashley). Not that Yelchin's character is much of a prize himself. He's a smugly one-note clairvoyant who assists a local police detective (played by a sleepy-eyed Willem Dafoe cashing a paycheque). Yelchin sees dead people and they, in turn, point the way to their killers. Yelchin and Sommers make such a disgustingly twee couple, you just feel like punching them in the face - repeatedly - with vigour and a kind of evil glee.

Oh, and "Odd Thomas" is not his nickname, it's his name - period - Odd being his first name and Thomas being his surname. Yup, the title character no less. I bet you're laughing already. Isn't that so, uh quirky?

When our hero begins seeing more than the dearly departed, it turns out there's a whole supernatural species of creature that's going to be wreaking far more havoc than anyone could imagine and he needs to gird his loins to face a most formidable foe - especially since he'll need to accomplish this at break-neck speeds rivalling that of the speed of light itself.

Everything in this movie is pitched to such extremes, that there's no scares, suspense and certainly, no laughs. The picture would have you believe it's got plenty of those elements, but the screenplay is such a mess of annoyingly endless subplots, overwrought dialogue (and narration) and all of it is manically juggled by Sommers's direction - puked up, it seems, from some hack directors' purgatory.

Finally, the only thing truly odd about Odd Thomas is how and why it was made at all and even more egregious than the dreadful script and direction is an overall feeling of cheapness - none of it endearing in a fun, no-to-low-budget manner, but rather it's a movie that's just plain ugly to look at. There's no "good" or intentional ugly here. It's just plain incompetence from its miserable beginning to woeful end.

"Odd Thomas" is one of the few truly rank pictures you're going to see at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2013. If you must, you can get more ticket info at the TADFF website HERE.