Can Pierce Brosnan Save SALVATION BOULEVARD?July 27, 2011

Can Pierce Brosnan Save SALVATION BOULEVARD?


On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review:  SALVATION BOULEVARD (IFC)

Can Pierce Brosnan Save SALVATION BOULEVARD?
By Chris Claro


George Ratliff’s SALVATION BOULEVARD is a madcap, scattershot comedy that makes a block party of the hypocrisy-filled confluence of big business and big religion. Starring Pierce Brosnan as a charismatic preacher who believes only in himself, Jennifer Connelly as a parishioner who believes too much, Ed Harris as a writer who believes nothing, Greg Kinnear as a guy who doesn’t know what to believe, and Marisa Tomei as a Deadhead who doesn’t remember what she believes, SALVATION BOULEVARD has star power to burn.


With strong supporting turns from Ciaran Hinds (ROME) as Connelly’s skeptical father, and Jim Gaffigan (AWAY WE GO) as Brosnan’s lackey, Ratliff’s film avoids cheap shots at religion in favor of a “Wrong Man” scenario that sends Kinnear pinballing hither and yon to clear himself of a murder rap.

With a cast like that, you can’t go wrong, right? Well, no. Some of the biggest comedy bombs of all time have had a Murderers’ Row of stars that couldn’t save them. Look at the runaway train that was TOWN AND COUNTRY, with Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Garry Shandling. Or check out Shandling’s own Mike Nichols-directed debacle, WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM, which featured the aforementioned Kinnear as well as Annette Bening, John Goodman, and Ben Kingsley. As these titles and other prove, despite able casting, comedy can’t fly without a serviceable script.

So it is with SALVATION BOULEVARD. Taking its title – and little else – from the novel by Larry Beinhart, who also authored WAG THE DOG, the film’s preposterousness is trying. When Carl Vanderveer (Kinnear) sees Brosnan’s Pastor Dan Day shoot atheist Paul Blaylock, (Harris), it clumsily triggers a schematic narrative that puts Carl on the road to clearing his name and questioning his faith.

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