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Ordinary Sinner
Jesus Isn't Sexy Anymore

Writ. William Mahone
Dir. John Henry Davis
Str. Brendan Hines, A. Martinez, Elizabeth Banks,
Kris Park, Joshua Harto

Sometimes it is amazing that a movie ever gets made, or that an actor ever finds work. We all know that Hollywood is a machine, which churns out movies tailored to the masses, but if you stand back a look at what they've been doing lately, it's a little alarming. Take Jennifer Lopez as an example, and her trifecta of tripe. First there was the visually nauseating Cell, then the emotionally deadening Enough, and finally (so we hope) Maid In Manhattan, one of the few movies in celluloid history entirely based on a pun.

So we look to the indie to give us hope. Sometimes we find it, sometimes we see a film that transcends its form and redefines its genre. Sometimes, however, we find Ordinary Sinner, a flick born out of the curious notion that there just aren't enough movies about gay priests these days. A. Martinez (who my sister will recognize from L.A. Law) stars as Father Ed a fierce crusader against homophobia in the church. If you don't figure out what the message of the movie is within five minutes, don't worry; you'll be hit over the head with it at least twenty times. Of course it's not just a two-hour message. There's a 'plot' too.

Ordinary Sinner fumbles and lurches from one genre of film to the next, unwittingly mocking each of them as it goes. At first it's basically just a Very Special Episode Of Seventh Heaven. The protagonist, Peter (Heins), has lost his faith and left seminary school because a gay teenager (Harto) he was counseling killed a drag-queen-prostitute for some reason never fully explained. The director, Davis, seemingly at random intervals, throws in black and white flash-backs to Peter's times with the teen which do nothing to further either the plot or Peter's character. The unexplained anguish of his past never really manifests itself as an emotion or a traumatic episode in Heins' performance, rather it's just taken for granted that we understand what's going on. The same is true of every character - it is assumed that we understand them based on ultra-poor dialogue and acting that makes the post-gerbil Richard Gere look brilliant.

After a while the movie meanders into a fairly classic teenage love triangle, between Peter, Rachel (Banks) and Peter's best friend from forever, Alex (Park). Particularly amazing is the scene where the three of them almost kiss. At the same time!? No you didn't! And then it really started to dip low. About half way through Ordinary Sinner I got this weird feeling that at any moment the gay porn music was going to start playing and everyone was going to get it on. Boy, wouldn't that have been nice. I think it had something to do with the bales of hay, but I'm not sure. And finally it turns into a mystery more idiotic than the Scoobie-Doo episodes featuring Scrappy, with a "twist" so "shocking" you'll literally want to kill yourself.


Four Manhattans (sans the maid)
That's what I had to drink to make it through the movie. My notes on the film deteriorated as the screening progressed. By the end the only legible note I have written is "Buzz On!"

Two aimlessly wandering minds
In an effort to not fall asleep I found myself thinking of many different things. Like 'Boy that wine they're drinking sure looks like Kool-Aid." And then 'Oh my god! Duff Man from The Simpsons was obviously inspired by the Kool-aid guy from when we were kids!" And then 'OH YEAH!'

No Hot Guy on Guy Action
Along with plot, character, comprehension, or acting, some good old gay sex is one of the many things that might have made this movie bearable.

One and a half very frustrated hipsters
While on the surface this is a pointless, awful movie, worth not even a single Bedfordite, I had too much fun watching Ordinary Sinner. And it deserves some marks for that. Just make sure you're nice and liquored up before you take this one off the shelf.

--B.C. Edwards
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[email protected] | February 2003 | Issue 35
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