FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: This past Friday, I saw “The Poison Rose,” which stars John Travolta (Phenomenon , Pulp Fiction), Morgan Freeman (Olympus Has Fallen, The LEGO Movie), Famke Janssen (X-Men , GoldenEye), Brendan Fraser (The Mummy , Crash), Peter Stormare (Fargo , Constantine ), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Wayne’s World), Kat Graham (How It Ends, The Vampire Diaries [TV series]), Claudia Gerini (The Passion of the Christ, Love and Bullets), and Ella Bleu Travolta (Old Dogs ). It is directed by George Gallo (Middle Men, 29th Street) and Francesco Cinquemani (Andron, Beyond the Edge), who also wrote it with Luca Giliberto (Twins) and Richard Salvatore. Set in the 1970s, private Investigator Carson Philips (Travolta) is put on a case that leads him back to his hometown, where nothing is as it seems on the surface.
You all are going to have to sit down for this one. Crick the recliner up, pop some of that delicious kern, and dust off that old Chardonnay that’s been sitting in your cupboard; “The Poison Rose” is the viewing experience of the century. Everyone’s been talking about it, the flick’s made its rounds in Cannes, and now it is arriving on our doorsteps in the most eloquent fashion: direct-to-DVD. Could my blu-ray player encode this masterpiece? It almost didn’t. I know what you’re thinking… is he serious? If only sarcasm could be read. It only seems fitting to joke around when it comes to reviewing a joke of a feature. Apologies to all involved in making it, I’m sure they put a lot of effort into assembling this piece. However, no amount of effort could justify the quality of this final product. “The Poison Rose” is your run-of-the-mill straight-to-home-video affair that gets pushed out hundreds of times a year. Typically with has-been stars, mostly with the same style of cinematography, always falling flat. I never heard of this movie, but boy did I watch it. Were there regrets? Possibly. I usually enjoy watching horrible flicks, as long as they’re hilariously bad. In the case of “The Poison Rose,” I could say I got some good laughs in. If the writer and director were serious in crafting this piece, I don’t know what they were thinking. John Travolta in a Texan accent? Over-use of narration just because he’s a private investigator? Someone’s been watching too much “Magnum P.I.” There’s a lot that goes on in this movie, yet all of it is surface level. “How do we get from this point to that point?” Really, all I was sitting through was exposition upon exposition; everyone explaining everything all so we can get through a weak investigation story. Travolta can’t save the film, nor could any other surprising star the filmmakers got to be apart of this production. Seriously, there are a lot of strong names in this, and it was sad to see what they have come to in their careers (Brendan Fraser the most tragic, considering how much he’s changed). Is there really a point to go into detail on this one? Or should I just jump to the rating? What the heck, I’ll give you the bare bones of this film’s essence. It’s set in the 70s, yet can’t understand that it is at times (some of the music lounge singers were singing were clearly modern pop), the performances range from laughable to flat, and the dialogue couldn’t be more convoluted. Sure, it’s a straightforward story, but not without its unnecessary twists and turns in an attempt to make itself “deep.” At some point, I just gave up trying to understand what was going on. The plot goes in many different directions, hardly ever getting to the point because it wants to throw curveballs or misdirections at the audience. Yeah, it’s our typical mystery/drama, that’s how they work, but because the dialogue and character development was so horrendous I didn’t care. All I cared about was how much time the film had left (and for a picture that’s an hour and a half, it feels like a never-ending story). What I can salvage from this wreck is this: it has hilariously-bad moments, and in its lunacy is discovery. Actors you never thought would work together share the screen, and it’s interesting to see how this plot would unfold, given how terrible it is. It’s entertaining enough to keep me from switching it off, but that’s the extent. I would never see this again, nor recommend it to anyone unless they were looking for something awful to see and have seen all the go-to’s (“The Room,” “The Happening,” etc.). In the words of YouTube’s fast-food critic Report of the Week, “my disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.” FINAL SCORE: 29%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: