At the Movies with zombie Gene Siskel

I was crawling through the secret tunnels that crisscross theLloyd Center, center of the city, the other day when I uncovered asinister plot. Well, a vaguely sinister plot. In my mind it was asinister plot because I’m a zombie trapped at a mall with a lot ofextra time on my hands. So I have a tendency to make a bigger dealout of things than they really are. But it seemed fairly sinister.It’s a plot at least.

Jim Francesconi is plotting to take over Portland. That’s right,the wealthy businessman and lawyer is plotting to take overPortland and turn it into a wasteland of over-priced prefabricatedlofts, Starbucks and fusion restaurants. His devious plot is toremove all character from our city and populate it with banal richwhite people whose favorite food is theThai-Vietnamese-Mexican-Moroccan burger at P.F. Chang’s.

The whole city would become the Pearl District with HondaElements and PT Cruisers as far as the eye can see and beigeeverywhere. Beige suits, beige furniture, beige buildings, beigepeople drinking beige lattes. The City of Roses will become theCity of Mildly Off-White, or Cream.

How, you may ask, did I, Gene Siskel, zombie film critic, catchwind of this sinister plot? Telling you may constitute a libelsuit, so I’m not going to.

But I’m not saying Jim Francesconi doesn’t have a secretunderground lair (tastefully decorated in Pottery Barn fashion)beneath the Lloyd Center, where I hear him cackling with delight ashe tortures homeless youths. I’m also not saying I didn’t just seehis name on a mayoral ballot I gleaned from a local postal carrierI viciously devoured.

I will tell you, however, that this week I saw theRebecca Romijn-Stamos vehicle “Godsend” and I will tell you itsucked harder than the poor will suck at the withered teat of humankindness if Jim Francesconi is elected mayor of Portland.

The film revolves around Romijn-“now ex”-Stamos and Greg Kinnearas grieving parents whose eight year-old son is killed when he’shit by a car. When the couple is approached at the funeral by aso-nice-he’s-kind-of-creepy doctor, played by the formerly-talentedRobert De Niro, it seems like their family might be reunited. DeNiro is part of a revolutionary, but possibly unethical anddangerous, cloning institute located in a picturesque but remotetown in Vermont, and offers the grieving young couple their sonback through the possibly malevolent miracle of modern science.They agree, move to said small town, have the son and live happilyever after until …

Some bullshit happens and this insipid mess of a psychologicalthriller turns into an insipid mess of a schlocky horror movie.

Even as a re-incarnated movie-reviewing zombie, I found thismovie hard to swallow – and I eat cheerleaders all day! SureRomijn-Stamos is an attractive and recently single woman, butwatching teenage moviegoing boys trying to suppress involuntaryerections each time she ran onscreen was so unnerving I couldn’tenjoy myself.

And to have her bookended by Greg “I’m a nice guy in a NedFlanders sort of way” Kinnear and Robert “I’ve embarrassed myselfand my family” De Niro is a mood wrecker if ever there was one.

The movie feels like a watered-down, teched-up, version of “TheOmen” and with its predictable plot twists and “MTV reject”direction, I found myself falling asleep a couple of times. And I’ma zombie! We don’t freaking sleep!

Save yourself some trouble. Rent something foreign and feel goodabout yourself for not putting money in the pockets of the peoplewho make shit like this. And if you want to see something scary,vote for Jim Francesconi and watch what happens to Portland.