Along Came a Spider

Bomb Rating: 

I have read most of James Patterson's books, and one of their primary drawbacks is that they seem to be written explicitly for film. In a way, they're nothing more than little oral sex advertisements, because no producer in his right mind could read one and not think he was getting a blowjob. Patterson's books tend to be comprised of a hundred three-page chapters, each ending with some sort of hook to drive the reader into the next chapter. You can read ten chapters in the span of one short crap.

That the filmmakers behind this dreck nonetheless felt compelled to rewrite the entire story confirms the vice of every egotistical filmmaker and actor: The urge to rewrite what's in front of them, no matter how "finished" it might be. Patterson's books may not be good literature, but they're certainly passable as film plots. The studio probably commissioned some film executive's cousin to rewrite the entire thing, thinking, "Oh, that writing crap is so overrated."

Thus, it should surprise no one that what's eventually expelled onto the screen resembles the discharge of an animal that's been eating poorly to begin with. This is a prequel to "Kiss the Girls" in that it takes place before that film. In Patterson's books, Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) has a black partner who's 6'7" or something. In the movies, this character is replaced by a revolving stable of Hollywood hotties of varying degrees of incompetence. In this case, Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter) has allowed Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) to kidnap the daughter of a senator. Whoa -- stop right there. I'd buy the "Martin Luther King special" at Denny's before I'd buy Monica Potter as a Secret Service agent.

There are so many logical flaws in this film, it becomes downright amusing to watch the filmmakers sink to ever-deeper levels of incompetence. For instance, Flannigan goes on a money drop with Cross even though she's the only one in the entire film -- if not the entire planet -- who would tip Soneji off to the presence of the cops. Also -- and this is a stunner -- the criminals aren't even smart enough to leave the kid in a room with a door that opens out and not in. Guess what happens? The kid blocks the door and gives herself valuable time to escape.

One of the less annoying things about Patterson's books is that Soneji is a true criminal genius who lasts more than one book. In the movie, however, he's pretty much an idiot whose capture is only a matter of time. This creates little suspense, and explains why "Along Came a Spider" offers absolutely none.

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