Bless the Child

Bomb Rating: 

Here's what I would have done with this piece of crap: I would have sent it straight to video and made a suggestion on the cover that Christina Ricci has to escape the Devil's evil clutches by running topless through the streets of New York. The producers would have recouped all their money and this unholy work of inanity might have never made it into theaters.

Watching Kim Basinger "act" in this film, you'd have a hard time believing she attended the Academy Awards, much less won one. But then, when you're coughing up this kind of dialogue, even Laurence Olivier would have a hard time not resembling an ass. The film is about some sort of Godspawn child named Cody who's dropped on Maggie O'Connor's (Basinger) lap by her drug-addicted sister, Jenna (Angela Bettis). Unfortunately for Mags, the Devil's henchman, in the form of new age guru Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell), wants to turn Cody into an agent of evil.

This is the kind of the film where the director, Chuck ("Eraser") Russell, is so mediocre he actually cuts to Maggie clicking on her mouse so that we all know that she's entering information on the computer, as if showing us the pointer, the depressed button, and hearing the sound of the click weren't already enough. In addition, Jenna drops off the kid in the first minute and Maggie is immediately on some rant about drugs that sounds like it's straight out of a pamphlet you'd pick up during your first day at preschool: "Drugs are bad. Don't get on drugs."

Jimmy Smits plays a cop (excuse me, but whose genius casting was that and how stupid is Smits for taking the role? Didn't he leave "NYPD Blue" because he wanted to challenge himself with other roles? Christ, Jimmy, what's next? Dinner theater?) who helps Maggie and Cody escape a burning church at the end of the film. For some reason, he blurts out, "Keep your head down." By that time, this movie had me so hypersensitive to every stupid thing it was doing, that I felt like I had just walked into Screenwriting 101 for the lobotomized. It was like something you'd hear in a Monty Python skit. Keep your head down from what? They're running from a burning building. Okay, if Basinger was forty feet tall, I'd understand because her big-ass head would be scraping the top of the vaulted ceiling. I half expected her to put her head down and run into the wall.

Am I going on a bit here? I don't care. When Maggie heads into Eric's house for the final showdown, she grabs a steak knife from Stark's kitchen. You know, when the Devil's spawn are susceptible to steak knife attacks, evil has a problem (amazingly, they are). Basically, the film's theme is that belief in God can change everything and it's the most important thing in the world. Cody hugs a cancer patient and, presumably, makes her all better, which is why you know that God cares. Of course, we don't get to see all the other cancer patients she doesn't have time to hug and who end up rotting like fetid trash, but she saved one, so God must care. Ironically, for a movie trying to emphasize the importance of God's love, it ends up shoving a red hot poker right up His ass.

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