This film is a stunningly original combination of "Silence of the Lambs" and that recurring Star Trek premise where the Holodeck safeties have failed and trapped the crew in period costumes. Henry West (Dylan Baker) explains the familiar twist to FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) while Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) lies on a table, attached to a machine that allows her to enter the mind of serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio): If her mind thinks it's real, it can hurt her. Here's an idea: Let's find the engineers who designed this machine (and the Holodeck) and kill them instead.
Carl is exactly like Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs" in that he has a girl captive in a room, but refuse to reveal the location. This is why Catherine has to go poking around in his mind. Unfortunately for her, the inside of his head looks like a Serge Van Kache lithograph gone bad. Or Myst-gone-bad, if you prefer.
Naturally, our friends in the special effects department are quick to showcase their greatest talent: pissing digital effects all over the story. I'll at least give them this: The acid did its job -- whose mind looks this freaky and where are all the naked women? For me, this movie was summed up when we went into Catherine's mind and, while she's talking to Carl as a child, there's also this flowery, frilly stuff growing around the edges of the screen. Well sure, that looks kind of interesting and I'm sure it took some computer programmer hours upon hours of work, but what in the hell does it have to do with the story?
Now, I don't normally show this kind of compassion, but I think even the most cynical person would join me in recommending that Vince Vaughn get off the 'ludes. The only way the guy could be more stiff and dry would be if he were catatonic. Jennifer Lopez isn't much better, and puffing on Puff Daddy appears to have set her acting back. Add the bad story to the bad acting, and you see why the digital effects experts were brought in to slather the thing with electronic frosting.
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