>> Sympathy for Delicious (2011)

Genre: Drama

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, Christopher Thorton

Director: Mark Ruffalo

Studio: Maya Entertainment

Runtime: 96 minutes

Release Date: August 26, 2011

Format: DVD

MPAA Rating: R

Rating: 0.79 (out of 4.00)

Grade: F

Bottom Line:

With clashing elements that never quite mesh, Sympathy for Delicious is a silly premise that turns out as a muddled mess

 Sympathy for Delicious marks the directorial debut of actor Mark Ruffalo. Mark has always been a very talented actor, always delivering a solid performance. If you do not know the man now, you will when The Avengers comes out as he stepped in for Edward Norton as the new Hulk. 
I wish I could say he is equally talented when it comes to directing. Sadly, that is not the case. Although I'm somoeone who doesn't like to blame the director for everything wrong with a movie, there is certainly a lot that Mark had to do with. 
But first I'll try to explain the movie. Sympathy for Delicious follows a DJ nicknamed"Delicious" Dean O'Dwyer(Christopher Thornton) that has hit rock bottom after becoming a paraplegic and homeless. He lives in a car in a poor area of L.A. where reverend Joe(Mark Ruffalo) regularly helps him and other homeless people out with food and motivation. In his desperation Dean goes to a faith healing at a church with another paraplegic, but Dean doesn't buy into anything. The next day Dean discovers when he touches people that he heals them of any illness, mental or physical. From here Dean rises in populairty as first Joe has him heal as many people as he can, but as Dean grows in popularity, so does his greed and joins a rock'n'roll band to become a part of their show. The film essentially chronicles the rise and fall of Dean as he comes to term with his power. 
If that sounds like an odd premise to you, it's because it is. I feel like this film was doomed from the start the minute I understood where it was going. That is not to fault Mark. 
What is to fault Mark is nearly everything else. The editing in this film is terrible. Much of the film is unexplained and I constantly was confused about what led each scene to the next. There were plently instances where I couldn't tell how much time had past despite jumping weeks or days at a time. Because of this, the movie never made sense and had me questioning character's motivations throughout. Especially towards the end of the film as the script takes certain turns with characters that made absolutely no sense. 
Editing and pacing is so important in a movie with such a silly presense since you need to keep people focused on the drama, instead of shooting holes in the plot. And bad editing allows the plot holes and awkward character choices wide open for audiences to realize. 
On thing worth praising was that all the actors were good here. Each of them took the material and made the very best out of it which certainly made this film not as painful. But while they were good, None of the performances seemed right in the context of the film. Each actor felt like they had no direction and were allowed to make up any motivation they wanted out of the scene. On an individual level, each actor was good, but as an ensemble the characters didn't mesh naturally. 
That pretty much sums up the biggest flaw in this movie. None of the movie would flow well. The script seemed to meander for ages, then come to a contrived close. The cinematography didn't feel as if it was serving the plot, instead showing random "arthouse" shots without furthering the story. I cannot help but think this is due to Ruffalo not really knowing what he is doing. Without having a clear direction for each element, they all went their own ways which muddled the film. 
In the end I appreciate Mark trying to do something new, but the man seriously needs a few more years learning about direction before attempting another go. 


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