Providence's Alternative Source!


It must mean something -- three films in a month starring fading leading men in generic thrillers about grief. Then again, it might just be bad luck. Actually, The Mothman Prophecies far exceeded its slim expectations, and Collateral Damage wasn't as bad as it could have been. Which leaves Dragonfly the undisputed loser in the bunch.

At first it seems like a reprise of Mothman, with Dr. Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) bereft by the death of his do-gooder wife in a bus plunge in Venezuela. He's haunted by images of a wavy, cross-like figure (he aptly describes it as "a crucifix made of Jello") drawn by juvenile patients with near-death experiences who claim that they have seen his wife and that she wants him to "go there." Maybe they're referring to retirement, since Costner's performance here suggests that his acting high point might have been as the dead man in The Big Chill. Unlike Gere in Mothman, he hasn't the range to express deep grief, let alone potential lunacy, and unlike Schwarzenegger in Damage, he has just enough affect to be distracting. Director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) makes the transition from gross-out comedy to "serious" filmmaking with the maximum of schmaltz, proving once again that sentimentality is just the flipside of scatology, and sometimes funnier. At the Entertainment, Hoyts Providence 16, Opera House, and Showcase cinemas.

By Peter Keough

Issue Date: February 22 - 28, 2002