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'Odd Thomas' review: The tale of a narcissistic fry cook

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Odd Thomas

Rating:
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"Odd Thomas" will be released theatrically starting Friday, February 28.

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In Pico Mundo, a desert town in California, a restaurant cook who communicates with dead people named Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) tries to hide his abilities in order to not be any more outcast than he already is. But along with the help of the girl he was destined to be with forever named Stormy (Addison Timlin), Odd often brings killers into custody. It's something police chief Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe) wished Odd would clue him in on a bit more. Odd often sees what he refers to as Bodachs; creatures that are essentially the shadows of hell. Bodachs are invisible to the human eye, but very visible to someone like Odd. When Odd sees a massive amount of Bodachs lurking around a suspicious character named Fungus Bob Robertson (Shuler Hensley), he's convinced that something apocalyptic in size is coming to Pico Mundo. However, convincing everyone in town that trouble is coming is easier said than done.

Aside from "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns," director Stephen Sommers directed and contributed to the writing for films like "Van Helsing" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." The issue is that "Odd Thomas" feels extremely outdated like if "The Mummy" from 1999 was released today. Financial woes seemed to plague the film not only during production but while trying to get a potential release, as well. So depending on how long the film sat on the shelf (for example "The Cabin in the Woods" was on the shelf for three years before release and yet was still awesome), it very well could be more dated than it seems.

It should be apparent that Sommers is directing early on with the Arnold Vosloo cameo, nearly unbearable humor, and cheesy special effects. It isn't so much a bad thing that Sommers is still making films today, but it seems like the Indianapolis born director is completely blind to what audiences want these days and keeps making the types of films that may have been successful 15 years ago.

"Odd Thomas" suffers from a rambling narrative that adores the sound of its own voice. Odd narrates his own story, which is fine, but it honestly just seems like an excuse to hear the character that much more. Odd is constantly talking. He's very quirky and weird and he lives up to his name, but his speeches get on your nerves and just when you think you'll have a moment of peace and quiet he chimes in with a voiceover that lasts another three minutes to drive you insane. His relationship with Stormy is so lovey-dovey that it'll make you sick. The special effects look like something that would be found on a movie made specifically for SyFy. The Bodachs alone would be fine, but what is the purpose of computer generating a cucumber that Odd is slicing at work?

If Dean Koontz isn't ashamed of the film adaptation of his "Odd Thomas" series, then he either really doesn't care about the characters he creates or the books are just as awful as the film if not more so. "Odd Thomas" is a sloppy mixture of what could otherwise be a fun thriller. It's like a really lazy rip off of Peter Jackson's "The Frighteners" if it was made 18 years too late. With atrocious attempts at humor, force-fed romantic drivel shoved in your face whenever Odd and Stormy are on screen together, a main character who never knows when to shut up, and an ending you can see coming long before the climax hits, it's no wonder the film had financial problems. Now if we could just figure out how in the world the film landed respectable talent like Willem Dafoe and Patton Oswalt, then our faith in humanity might be restored.

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