TIFF Movie Review: Passion Play (2010)

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Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox in Passion Play

I have no idea why this film was ever made. Centering on a down-on-his-luck trumpet player that falls in love with a carnie with wings, Passion Play is a bunch of silliness that plays out for 91 minutes and then disappears never to be heard from again. This is a film that could have been incredibly entertaining if it had continually built on its stupidity for comedic gain. However, it tries to push some half-assed love story only to try and get all twisty and meaningful in the end. Gimme a break.

Written and directed by Mitch Glazer (The Recruit screenwriter) in his directorial debut, the film centers on Nate Poole (Mickey Rourke) a trumpet player that survives a desert execution when a group of ninjas (or were they cowboys dressed in jujitsu garb?) take out his captor. From here he stumbles across a carnival where he discovers Lily (Megan Fox), the carnival’s resident Bird Woman. The catch here is she really does have wings. To be honest, how that’s a catch I’m not so sure, but Nate falls almost instantly in love with Lily and vice versa. He then coerces her to leave with him, much to the chagrin of her employer (Rhys Ifans).

While on the road Nate gets the idea to manage Lily and make the big bucks. He also figures he’ll cut in local gangster Happy Shannon (Bill Murray) considering he’s the one that tried to have him killed after Nate slept with his wife. From there things go bad and play out in a maniacal kind of way, but the film is not at all as fun as its description.

As far as the performances go they’re all just fine. Adequate is probably the best description, but certainly nothing you’ll be writing home about. But the problem here isn’t the acting, it’s the stupid and pointless story.

Loaded with downright stupid situations and terrible green screen work, there is nothing entertaining about this film, although I did get a good laugh at a trigger happy Bill Murray whose Happy isn’t one to mince words.

Passion Play is described as having the “fantasy of a fairy tale,” but all I saw was a 90 minute mess. The number of walkouts during my screening were too many to count and while I didn’t hate the film I was still anticipating the minute I could leave.

GRADE: D

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