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This movie is as bad as it looks.

Director Tarsem Singh never wrangles Alex and David Pastor’s mess of a mélange into anything comprehensible. Too bad, really, as, somewhere buried deep inside here is a decent concept.

Ben Kingsley starts us off as a ruthless New York City billionaire real estate developer. I’m not entirely sure, but it looks like the scenes shot for his apartment are actually rooms in the gilded Trump Tower apartment Donald Trump calls home. Nice views if you can see past all that gold. Anyway, snazzy scenery don’t buy health and happiness apparently. Ben’s Damian’s dying. So he tries to make amends with his estranged daughter and then buys himself into an experimental program that will transfer his mind or soul or something into Ryan Reynolds’ body. What aging man wouldn’t want to suddenly wake up in Ryan Reynolds’ body? This is a great deal: you look great, can shoot hoops and have sex all over the place. Ah, but, after a few thousand rolls in the hay, things start to sour and our guy, whoever he really is, isn’t just unhappy, he’s in deep doo doo.

I will admit to losing interest in the meandering explanation of the scientific plotting of all this, but I really did try to keep up with the story. It was just impossible. There’s a whole lot of running around and creepy manipulators and stuff, but I could never figure out who was running from who and how and, of for God’s sake, who cares?

Here’s something to care about: why can’t Ryan Reynolds get a starring role worthy of his talent? Yes, he could pull off a real acting job. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Greg Motolla’s Adventureland, a terrific little movie he made with Kristin Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg back in 2009.

But back to Self/Less. A movie that proves, at least in this case, less is definitely not more.


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