Monday, June 7, 2010

This movie just doesn't cut it

Two stars

By Gary Buiso

“Splice” is a horror/thriller that fizzles like a science experiment gone awry, offering at first a sense of creepy disquiet, but eventually mutating into an absurd test tube of half-explored ideas and unintentional laughter.

Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are hip, romantically linked geneticists working to synthesize a potentially life-saving protein for their employer, a pharmaceutical company.

To do so, they combine, or splice, the DNA of different animals, creating at first two amorphous blobs that will act as incubators for the profitable protein.

Things end badly for the blobs — in an instant-classic scene that involves company shareholders and lots of blob goo — but it’s no big deal, because Elsa has already decided to ramp-up the science by introducing her own DNA to a multi-species mix.

Soon, a mostly human-looking creature emerges, looking like the offspring of Billy Corgan and a kangaroo.

Elsa cares for the thing, named Dren, as if it were her own baby, much to the chagrin of Clive, who hints to her that he wants to start a family of their own — away from all the centrifuges and Bunsen burners.

Things get downright silly when Dren hits puberty, and takes a shine to her lab Daddy, producing what might go down as cinema’s most outlandish “Honey, you caught me cheating” moments, as Clive tries to explain away his behavior to his shocked paramour.

The film, directed by Vincenzo Natali (“Cube”), devolves from there into a clichéd chase scene at a deserted farmhouse, to the very last frame — a hint at a sequel that will likely never be made.

Special effects are top notch, direction is capable, but performances are inconsistent, with Polley shining bright but Brody lacking the kind of depth needed to explain his wandering eye. The biggest problem though is the story, co-written by Natali, which has a personality crisis proportionate to that of a multi-species creature.

In the end, “Splice” just doesn’t cut it.

“Splice.” Rated R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language. 104 minutes. With Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, Brandon McGibbon, and Simona Maicanescu.

Playing in Brooklyn at UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


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