New To Blu: The Identical

The Identical may have hit blu-ray last week but we're finally here to worn you about this movie.

"Elvis was never this sexy.
Wait a second....." 
Thanks to Darren Aronofsky’s atheist but brilliant Noah, the floodgates of bad evangelical Christian faith based movies burst open wide to cash in on the crest of the God-less film’s success.  More than ever, 2014 was the year inspirational Bible beaters dominated the multiplexes, beginning reasonably enough with Son of God, God’s Not Dead before it crashed with a neurotic bang with Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.  

Somewhere in between, The Identical slipped under the radar with little to no publicity.  A real shame, because it’s probably the most expensive, star studded chunk of unbridled insanity this year!  At least Kirk Cameron had the good sense to do it practically for free in his backyard and didn’t rob investors’ wallets dry by subverting a worldwide cultural icon.  In short, this work of fiction imagines Elvis Presley’s stillborn identical twin brother not only lived, but the king himself became a Christian rock star! 

From inception on paper to production on film, The Identical is an aggressively awful train wreck of enormous proportions.  First time director Dustin Marcellino, I am convinced, never met another human being before this movie.  The plot, if it qualifies as one, is incoherent, nonsensical and free of conflict, giving viewers no veritable reason to sit through it other than some dogged measure of camp.  Characters seem to age at different times, with Ashley Judd remaining in her 20s where Drexel as a teenager looks to be in his late 40s.  Blake Rayne looks and sounds just like Elvis, and then you can just stop right there.  

"I'm just sitting here holding
the pain of  this movie inside
my sphincter. Ahhhhh....
what I would do to have the
Goodfellas years back."
Watching Ray Liotta (seriously, why is he in this thing, let alone serve as executive producer on it?) try to play off of Rayne’s inability to act is cloying and embarrassing to behold.  For a premise that could have been genuinely interesting, asking what if Elvis’ brother had lived, is wasted when nothing is done with it whatsoever.  But probably the nuttiest thread within The Identical is a brief mention of Elvis’ name, which begs the question, if Elvis existed in the world of this movie, why would anyone care to see a bad ripoff artist like Drexel Hemsley who looks closer to Jack White of The White Stripes than The King.

Currently holding 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Identical flopped like a dead animal, grossing a mere $2.8 million against its $16 million budget.  One wonders how many starving children could have eaten instead of seeing a bad Elvis impersonator reimagined as the savior.  Little to no advertising was given to the movie but quickly became the subject of internet scrutiny in the same manner Saving Christmas did.  For the average viewer, The Identical should be avoided like the plague.  Fans of cinematic train wrecks that stink to high Heaven, it’s a treasure trove of unintentional hilarity.  The closest thing one can muster in the way of legitimate praise for The Identical is that it believable imagines John C. Reilly’s Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story as a faith based drama instead of a comedy.  

Of the bottom 10 worst films of all time, The Identical absolutely belongs on the list!

-Andrew Kotwicki