Karaoke Nights – The Identical (2014)

It’s just a bad movie.  So this takes place in an alternate universe where Elvis’ twin brother didn’t die at birth, but was given to another family.  He grows up and looks strikingly similar to Elvis, and when it is discovered that he can sing, people want him to perform in concerts where he does an impression…  except Elvis doesn’t actually exist in this universe, and the majority of the songs featured are originals.  I watched this for one reason: this was sold to me as being the next The Room.  Being that Tommy Wiseau’s unintentional masterpiece is something that I watch every few months with friends (I get vast amounts of enjoyment from it every time), I happily gave this a shot.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t breech “so bad it’s good” territory, it’s just messy filmmaking.

ray-liottaRay Liotta, what are you doing with your career?

Unless you run in the same circles that I do, you’ve likely never heard of this.  What is boggling is they actually got big name actors to star in this: Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green and Joe Pantoliano are all featured here in the hammiest of roles.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just trying to get that Christian money, and that’s something that you may not realize about The Identical: it has an agenda.  Religious movies have been blowing up recently: between on-the-cheap indies (God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real) to big budget Hollywood (Exodus: Gods and Kings, Noah), everybody wants their piece of the pie, so it’s not really surprising to see movies like The Identical coming out of the woodwork.

godApart from tithing, who knew that religion was such a bankable market?

Touching on a glimmer of a positive here, the guy they got to play the “Elvis” double, Blake Rayne, actually does a great Elvis impression.  He’s got the look down, and when you close your eyes, it sounds like Elvis.  He’s got that down pat, but as an actor… let’s just say there’s a lot to be desired.  Both experienced and inexperienced actors alike are all overacting trying to sell this, and they are playing over the top caricatures in exaggerated fashion.  Also, the aging make-up on this is really wonky; the only change Rayne has from the ages of 16 to 33 is a new shirt, while Liotta goes from spry to decrepit in a scene change.  There are bits in here that do work as an unintentional comedy, but this way was duller and less fun than what this got sold to me as.  It’s just so bizarrely embarrassing, but at least it’s never boring.

The Identical (2014) *

– Critic for Hire


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