Movie: Godsend

Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: 2004-04-30
Cast: Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Cameron Bright, Jenny Levine
Director: Nick Hamm
WorkNameSort: Godsend
Our Rating: 1.50

The best argument yet against stem-cell research, Lions Gate's dull, dopey thriller puts a married couple (Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) through the trauma of losing a child, then offers them the relief of a cloned replica that's identical in every way. Or maybe not: When he hits his eighth birthday (the same age Version 1.0 was when he died), little Adam starts acting awfully strange, scowling up a storm and becoming obsessed with images of a schoolhouse in flames. If you're guessing he just wants to go to Burning Man, you've obviously never seen "Audrey Rose," "Pet Sematary," "The Shining" or any of the other tyke-centric terrors the flick brazenly channels. The swipes might not seem so obnoxious were the story to make even a lick of sense: To participate in the way-illegal cloning process, for example, Adam's parents have to go into the medical underground's version of the witness-protection program, yet his mama goes on exhibiting her art photographs under her real name. Tallying the copious lapses in logic, though, helps one stay awake during the numerous slow passages that dot the remarkably uninvolving film. (Most supernatural sci-fi requires suspension of disbelief; this one requires suspension of disinterest.) And who's that stiff playing the doctor who sets the whole mess in motion? Why, it's Robert DeNiro -- who, if you haven't noticed, now acts every role as if he's "The King of Comedy's" Rupert Pupkin reading off cue cards.