We’re taking this blog to church today! Normally I review bigger secular films, but because I’m excited about this movie (and partly because there weren’t any big blockbusters coming out this week), we’re going to review a Christian film, and that’s not as bad as you might think.
The Identical follows one man as he pursues his dream of filling the world with music. Is it a rocking and rolling good time or does it hit a sour note. Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this film? Blake Rayne makes his acting debut as Ryan Wade. His parents are played by Ray Liotta of Goodfellas and Ashley Judd of Dolphin Tale. His wife Jenny is played by Erin Cottrell of the Love Comes Softly films, and his best friend Dino is played by Seth Green of Family Guy and the Mass Effect games. The film also stars Joe Pantoliano of The Matrix and Amanda Crew of She’s the Man. The director is Dustin Marcellino, taking on his first attempt at directing a movie, so I can’t say how his style will affect the film.
The trailer starts as any good Christian film should: with Dino stealing his father’s car and taking Ryan to a honky-tonk bar. Ryan’s future wife asks him how a preacher’s kid learned to dance, and Ryan tells her, “Something just happens to me when I hear music.” Yeah, the Spirit moves him. In fact, judging by those dance moves, I’d say he’s a Pentecostal. Oh, and good news everyone: Elvis Presley is alive and well, and he now goes by the name of Ryan Wade. (Fun fact: Blake Rayne was an Elvis impersonator at one point in his life, and it shows.)
But the cops show up, and one of them smacks Ryan with a flashlight. Golly, officer, his singing wasn’t that bad. When Ryan’s father finds out about his son’s excursion, he declares, “You’re going into the ministry!” You know, most fathers make their sons join the Army when they royally mess up. Although seminary might be more effective; I don’t know. A man from the seminary in question says, “Your father tells me you have a mind to follow in his footsteps.” Ryan’s response? Blink. Seriously, all we need is the cartoon sound effect to make that hilarious.
“I don’t hear this call Daddy wants me to hear,” Ryan tells his mother. You know, that could be because you don’t pay attention during Sunday services. Just a thought. But another call arrives in the form of Drexel Hemsley, an Elvis-type singer who looks enough like Ryan to be his long lost twin brother *cough cough*. “Ryan cannot hear this!” his father says. I guess your wife wasted her money buying it then. But because his father stops short of nailing cotton balls into Ryan’s ears, Ryan hears the song on the radio and asks, “Who is this?” Totally not Elvis in any way, shape, or form.
Despite claims that he looks just like “The Dream”, Ryan denies being related to the singer, which I’m sure won’t become ironic later on at all. But he can still work a room, which gets him a deal as a Drexel Hemsley impersonator called … the Identical! Roll credits! Of course, he’s mobbed by hundreds of fangirls, which makes me wonder if he’s signing his own autograph or Drexel Hemsley’s autograph. But the success isn’t enough for Ryan; he wants to sing his own songs. His manager tosses away the idea, saying, “You’re a pretender! You’re nothing!” Yeah, he’s nothing with a hundred thousand adoring women. I wouldn’t mind being that kind of nothing for five minutes. (Not too much longer, though; I don’t think I’d survive it.)
We get a flashback of a mother holding two babies and then a family picture with only one child, young Ryan. Gadzooks, you mean there’s another one? Who could he possibly be? “It’s time to tell him the truth,” his mother says. “He needs to know who he is.” There is another Skywalker … oh wait, wrong twins. “I’m mighty proud of you, boy,” says Ryan’s father, but when Ryan tells him he doesn’t feel the call to the ministry, he replies, “You’re breaking my heart, boy.” There’s bipolar, and then there’s this. When asked if he’s looking for something, Ryan replies, “It’s not about the money.” It’s about sending a message: everything burns. “I’m tired of being somebody I’m not.” At which point he takes off his faceplate to reveal he’s an alien. Or maybe that was the M. Night Shyamalan version.
And the trailer ends with Ryan and Joe Pantoliano serenading Jenny at her window. Police show up, and Jenny asks, “Why are there always police involved with you and me?” “You called the cops on me?” Ryan asks. Oh for crying out loud, girl, his singing isn’t that bad!
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Why yes, yes I do. In fact, I had the opportunity to watch an advance copy of The Identical, so I can safely say I would recommend it. It’s a fun, enjoyable time with rocking music, talented actors, and a very nice first performance by Blake Rayne. I hope he continues his film career, because I’d like to see him in more movies. Of course, this film isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like good-quality Christian films or classic rock-and-roll, you’ll probably enjoy this. I’ll probably re-watch it myself once it comes out on DVD.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel the Spirit moving me to turn on some Elvis and dance. He moves me like that now and then.
The Identical is owned by City of Peace.