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September 11, 2014

The Identical (* 1/2) PG

I’m not sure where the inspiration—and I use that term loosely—came from for The Identical but one can’t help but think that it had something to do with the oft-repeated story of Elvis Presley and his twin brother, Jesse, who died at birth.

As the story goes, the King of Rock and Roll often said that he felt the overpowering connection of his deceased twin brother at times in his life. Or maybe it was just the superstitious mumbo-jumbo fed to him by his mother, Gladys, as a child. It certainly makes a case for the old adage that if you give someone a child for the first seven years you’ll have that child for life, at least psychologically. 

Okay, I realize that this is supposed to be a movie review and that I’m not here to give a psychological portrait of Elvis Presley but the truth is that I’m just staving off the inevitable because there’s so little of a compelling nature in regard to the film being reviewed here. The story of Elvis and his twin brother, Jesse Presley, proves to be more interesting than anything inherent in the convoluted and utterly contrived mess known as The Identical.

Blake Raynes, Ashley Judd & Ray Liotta in The Identical

It just amazes me that a film such as The Identical could get a theatrical release when a recent and, much better, film starring Owen Wilson (Are You Here) goes straight to video. Times have definitely changed.

I will concede that The Identical does contain some great actors, which elevates matters a slight bit. The material, unfortunately doesn’t serve their sizeable talents but that’s another story.

Dexter and Drexel Hemsley (Blake Raynes in a dual role) are twins separated at birth but adopted by different families when their sharecropping father is convinced by a traveling tent revival preacher (Ray Liotta; yes, you read that right) that it’s a more financially viable option to keep only one of the boys and let a deserving family take the other.

A woman who can’t have children of her own (Ashley Judd) takes the ‘Identical,’ who will, in time, become a pseudo-Elvis. Meanwhile his brother spends most of the film attempting to find his own identity but, somehow, remaining oblivious to the obvious physical similarities between he and his more famous twin brother. There’s almost a guarantee of a compulsion on the part of the viewer to yell at the clueless twin onscreen as one might do in a horror film but then common sense prevails and you realize that the film doesn’t warrant that kind of involvement.

It’s amazing that the studios continue to gripe about their revenue stream being down when the best they can offer moviegoers is something as poorly made as The Identical. If this is any indication of how much respect they have for the movie-going public then they get what they deserve.

The Identical is playing at the Carmike in Hickory and other area theaters.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

 

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