release year: 2004
genre: drama/suspense
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/8/04

synopsis: After losing their 8-year-old son, a couple deals with a geneticist to produce a clone of the dead kid...but once he's 8, things get weird.

impressions: I saw the preview for this and had no desire to watch it. Then, after being forced to watch it, I was liking it...but by the end, I was so mad at one stupid character and the ending that I left with a bad overall impression of the movie. Worse, I can't really explain myself without giving away crucial plot twists. Let me just say that the wife, played by Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, was quite naive, worrying more about her doctor than her husband and giving away a lot of blind trust. To put it another way, this character was completely unwilling to accept the obvious, even when presented with strong evidence; she couldn't deal, and so she put herself and others in danger. I personally hate characters like this. As for the basic plot, it's right out of the current headlines...cloning, is it right or wrong, what problems can happen, etc. Of course, there are some twists that don't make it cut and dried in this case. Another problem this movie suffered from was the "alternating noise level" effect: characters will whisper for a long while, causing you to turn up the volume to hear what they're saying...and then suddenly, a blast of music from out of nowhere. No director should be allowed to use this cheap tactic to try and scare the audience. Final problem (and it's a big one) the ending was not only ambiguous but also stupid. Let me put it in blunt terms: if you turned around and found someone standing over you with a raised axe and murder in their eye, and then they suddenly started acting normal again, would you just assume that they were cured forever? If you would, you need to buy this movie and build a shrine around it.

things to watch for: hard to say - there are a number of moments when everything's peaceful and quiet and then some cheap scare pops up

something this movie has that no other movie has: a schoolyard bully whose tough-kid challenge is who can swing the highest

acting: Greg Kinnear is the sensible father who sees that something's wrong and acts on it. Rebecca Romjin-Stamos is, as I said, the stupid mother who refuses to believe what any reasonably perceptive person would have realized. Robert Deniro is good as the brilliant but quietly sinister doctor. The kid did a good job with a complex role.

final word: Good thriller if you can accept and sympathize with a major character who is stupid.

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