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By Adam Lippe

identity14This is exactly the kind of psuedo-clever phoned-in-written-over-the-weekend script that reeks of Donald Kaufman (Adaptation). From the first 10 minutes on, where I swore the movie couldn’t have been this bad: Unless it was on purpose? It certainly couldn’t have been more hokey. Indian burial grounds? The number 6 that turns into a 9 when a door is slammed? A dark and stormy night? Multiple personality disorder? 10 Little Indians? Jake Busey?

The acting was all over the map, the actors weren’t so much given direction, as they were given cell phones to dial in their performances from their vacations in the Bahamas that their big fat paychecks paid for. If this lets Pruitt Taylor Vince, Liotta, Cusack, McGinley, and all the other visiting actors (notice the dad from Donnie Darko and Election as the judge) do more interesting independent movies, then I guess I support it.

And that resolution which is the oldest cop-out known to screenwriters (I wrote the same basic story when I was 16, and mine was more clever, not that it was any good either), is so dumb, I was howling at the screen. That kind of ploy allows him to get away with every cliche he wants, he could just say it was in the guy’s head, of course it’s hackneyed. Any continuity problems (Cusack breaks the limo’s window and yet it doesn’t rain into the car, next time we see the window, there’s no shards or anything, it’s perfectly broken) are immediately excused, because, well, it’s in the guy’s head. Any problems with the script you have? Well, it’s in your head. It’s not really there. You, watching the movie at home. You didn’t like it? It’s because you have multiple personality disorder and you haven’t learned to suck on Hollywood’s uninventive teet.

identity_lThis movie has to be a comedy. I’m not going to listen to the commentary, because James Mangold, who made the terrific Heavy, and has done shit since then, will probably pretend it was all intended as a horror thriller, and I refuse to believe that with this many intelligent people involved, no one said, “Hey wait a minute, this isn’t serious is it?” And he will no doubt brag about all the hidden clues (Liotta was given away with the bloody shirt which I noticed early on, Pruitt Taylor Vince was given away as the serial killer because I recognized his voice on the tape, that’s just my familiarity with him though), the excessive use of the rack focus, and all manners of subtlety, right Jimmy?

Why does the movie pretend we care about resolution in the guy’s head, after it’s revealed he’s crazy and has 10 personalities? What difference does it make that the child inside him killed all those people? What kind of idiot doctor pulls the protective device back? Why would they allow it to be pulled back so easily? Wouldn’t it be locked? Why am I asking these logical questions?

I look forward to Donald getting his hands on another script, perhaps The 3, II?

A quote from likeminded party:

“The plot of [Identity] was actually referred to in Adaptation last year. When Donald is talking to Charlie about his movie idea, how the cop and the killer are both the same person in a movie, both are parts of a split personality. Charlie then says it would make no sense since he would then be chasing himself in a high speed chase. Donalds response ‘isn’t that fucked up?’ …I find it rather ironic that a movie from the same studio comes out not too long after a joke about the same plot is made in another film.”

identity_006He forgot to mention that John Cusack was in both films, meaning that he participated in a movie that made fun of an terrible, unproduced script, and then made a movie from the terrible script a year later anyway.

Identity would have been a much more enjoyable movie had it been made for USA, shown only at 2 am, and starred Patrick Muldoon (as John Cusack), Kellie Martin (in the phony-pregnant newlywed role), Jim Metzler (as John C. Mcginley), Kirk Cameron (as the newlywed husband), Leo Rossi (in the Liotta role), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (in the hooker Amanda Peet role), Brian Austin Green (as the guy who runs the hotel), Melissa Joan Hart (as the movie star), Jake Busey (as Jake Busey), and Casper Van Dien as the serial killer.

It’s all about scale. If Ishtar had been an independent movie, made for $1 million, it would have been a classic. Same thing with Mystery Men and The Last Action Hero.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.