Published Apr 01, 2004Godsend is so mediocre that one could be forgiven for thinking it was made by people who were just sick to death of making movies. The whole film plays like a contractual obligation, and this is despite a great premise. Well, make that half a great premise. Director Nick Hamm and writer Mark Bomback screw that up too.
Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos play one of those annoyingly cuddly white couples who, from what we're told, simply deserve to be happy, but they lose their eight-year-old son Adam in a traffic accident. Robert De Niro is the scientist who promises to allow them to give birth to their son once again by a DNA in vitro process. But when the new Adam reaches the age at which the old Adam died, he's plagued by night terrors and horrific visions, as if his genetic structure was rebelling against the fact that science has tampered with his original destiny. Okay, I'd be hooked if that's what the movie was about, but that enticing idea is just a red herring for a truly stupid, arbitrary plot twist.
The blame for this movie goes beyond Bomback's hoary, literal-minded dialogue, or Hamm's inept direction (he can't generate any human drama so he uses screeching musical cues to goose the audience into paying attention). For his part, Kinnear is more than just his usual bland he's listless. De Niro can't even generate an ounce of charisma or underlying menace in his "mad scientist" role. I think the only one who's really trying is Romijn-Stamos, who at least has something to prove.
The only problem is that she's physically miscast. She towers over Kinnear (she stoops a bit to compensate), and her glamorous physical presence makes her look like a supermodel who was just handed the task of being a wife and mother the night before. And even though she sheds a lot of tears and grieves like a trooper, she can't save a movie in which nobody else involved really gives a shit. (Lions Gate)