The Good Life

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art House Salad

Catching up with an alternative flick that was recently tossed around in limited release. (I intended to review this film just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, but life -- and turkey -- intervened.)

By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic

Dir. Peter Rodger
Gussi S.A. / Mitropoulos Films
98 min. Not Rated

I suppose a movie about the meaning of God doesn't need to be a sober, introspective therapy session, but it most certainly didn't need to be the pretentious, obtuse, hyperactive mess that is "Oh My God?," British photographer Peter Rodger's globetrotting documentary in which he asks a bunch of random people what they think about the man -- or woman, or whatever -- upstairs.

It's nice that Rodger took the initiative to travel the world with little more than a camera and a question, and he sure did capture some pretty scenery, but did he have to show us every last frame of his footage? The opening of this film is an unbearably lengthy montage of shots that have absolutely no context other than the depiction of people, places and things on God's green Earth and the stinking pride of the director. It's a good warning of what's to come, as "Oh My God?" is basically an aimless string of uninteresting psychobabble and ADD-style editing.

I don't even think "The Bourne Ultimatum" had as many cuts as this movie, which abandons every image for another so quickly and frequently, the topic at hand becomes immaterial and the film becomes almost unwatchable. By comparison, a therapy session would be a godsend, for at least then we'd be able to look in the eyes of an interviewee long enough to process his or her remarks.

Not that the remarks are all that thought-provoking anyway. "Oh My God?" boasts the presence of a handful of famous and non-famous individuals who, like the opening images, apparently have nothing to do with one another aside from living on Earth and appearing in this movie. Seal. Ringo Starr. David Copperfield. Sir Bob Geldof. Hugh Jackman and his "Australia director, Baz Luhrmann (both of whom Rodger fortuitously bumped into while they were on location filming their 2008 epic). Do you care a smidge about these folks' opinions about God, anymore than you would your next-door neighbor's? Me neither. And maybe that's the point, but hell if Rodger communicates it, or any other objective in this insight-free, film student-quality exercise. OMG, did I hate it.

1 star (out of 5)

"Oh My God?" saw a limited release in Philadelphia in November, is now playing in St. Louis and Chicago, and should soon be arriving on DVD. Avoid it.


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