Gods and Monsters

Bomb Rating: 

Brendan Fraser, who, thanks to "George of the Jungle," has earned areputation as acting's missing link, plays opposite Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave in this story about James Whale (McKellen), the openly gay director of "Frankenstein." It's sort of like watching an Atlantic City boxing match between Mike Tyson and Calista Flockhart. One good right hook and Calista's head splashes down somewhere off Long Island.

Basically, the story is about the last days of Whale's life as he finds solace in his relationship with his lawn man, Clayton Boone (Fraser). Though Boone isn't gay, the two become unlikely companions. This occurs under the watchful eye of Whale's maid, Hanna (Redgrave), who suspects Whale is trying to harpoon Boone with his Great White.

Hanna is the quintessential foreign maid -- you know, the one who's been in the country for the last twenty years but still has serious trouble with the English language, yet manages to spout off phrases of incredible wisdom at the most appropriate times. Naturally she cares deeply for Whale, even though he basically pays her minimum wage to cook his food and wipe his rich white ass.

Fortunately, Boone is a simple lawn man with few lines whose only real challenge is that at some point he has to take off his shirt. This makes the role nearly perfect for Brendan Fraser, except that he had to learn which end of the hedge trimmer to hold, which apparently took weeks of something the stars like to call "research."

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