Black Swan meets Water For Elephants, sort of, in the post-mortem noir disaster, Passion Play. Screenwriter and Playboy scribe turned first time director Mitch Glazer gets the sullen, boozy mood right, and has assembled a top notch ensemble cast counting Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray, Rhys Ifans and Glazer’s wife and designated muse Kelly Lynch. So what went wrong? Where do I start.
Mickey Rourke is Nate Pool, a bargain basement strip club jazz musician and intermittently recovering junkie who is targeted for assassination by a glum head gangster oddly known as Happy (Bill Murray), for sleeping with the mobster’s wife. After being dragged off into the wilderness one night by a bunch of hitmen with a pistol to his head, Pool may or may not be suddenly saved by a posse of identically white clad Native American assassins with machine guns, who just happen to be passing by.
And whether Pool – who may or may not still be alive, is maybe daydreaming during his final moments before death, could be experiencing weird fantasies while nodding off after shooting up his drug of choice, or has already entered the afterlife for the duration of the running time – is anybody’s guess. In any case, he appears to be as confused as we are by now, as he wanders off until he finds himself at a traveling circus in the middle of nowhere. Which is when he encounters Lily (Megan Fox), a freak carnival attraction with wings.
The zero chemistry male cougar mismatched pair are soon running off together, with both Happy and Lily’s barker boyfriend (Rhys Ifans) in lukewarm pursuit. During which Lily makes a surprise detour stop at a plastic surgeon in order to lose those pesky wings. That is, until Pool tracks her down and threatens the doc, should he so much as touch a feather on the babe’s otherwise spectacular bod. So is this movie about the human urge to fly, or just the wacky thoughts of some junkie while getting high? And is Mickey Rourke and his obsession with his leading lady’s wings, possibly suspect intimations of bestiality? Who cares.
Passion Play is anything but, as Glazer seems to be winging it with dumb and dumber characters and dialogue the whole way through. So by the time after what seems like forever when Lily finally summons up the nerve to spread her wings and take off, you may feel like flying outta there too.
1 [out of 4] star