Hunka burning crap
Elvis fans know that he had an identical twin brother, Jesse, delivered stillborn about half an hour before his arrival. For over 50 years, the question “What would’ve happened if Elvis’ twin brother had lived?” has been tossed around.
The Identical, one of those “faith-based” movies like God’s Not Dead, Heaven is For Real, and Jesus Loved Jellybeans, is a take on the surviving Elvis twin premise, replacing Elvis and Jesse Presley with the fictional Ryan Wade and Drexel Hemsley, both played by real-life Elvis impersonator Blake Rayne.
Obviously, getting the rights to Elvis music would cost more than three new Cadillacs, so the producers of this dreck wrote some crap Elvis copycat music and a shameless script that stars Elvis without really starring Elvis. I would encourage the likes of Lisa Marie Presley to sue the makers of this movie for obviously stealing her dad’s likeness, but then she would have to actually see this movie, and I wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone.
Somehow, this aberration attracted the likes of Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green and Joe Pantoliano to star in it. It’s bad. It’s so bad, one viewing could cause septic shock due to cinematic shit entering your bloodstream through the eyes and ears.
The movie starts with Rayne as Drexel, the brother who has grown up to be rich like Elvis, sitting in his limo and seeing a vision of people picking cotton in a Depression-era field out his window. It then flashes back to that time when a couple decides to give up one of their twin newborn boys because they can’t afford the little brat.
That boy, Ryan, is raised by a preacher and his wife (Liotta and Judd) with a big Jesus influence and a push toward making him a pastor. The film is peppered with scenes of Liotta delivering fire and brimstone sermons, sermons that get funnier and funnier as his character ages under prosthetic makeup. Ryan loves Jesus, but he’s got rock ’n’ roll in his bones, evidenced by his sweet dance moves when he visits an evil honky tonk bar. He dabbles in music on the side, writing Elvis-like songs with his hip drummer friend (Green, a long way from Robot Chicken).
Ryan has no knowledge of his famous brother due to some weird pact Liotta’s character made with his dad to not mention his brother until both his birth parents were dead. So, while one brother grows up to be Elvis-like, living in a house called Dreamland and making bad surf movies, the other is pseudo-Elvis like, joining the Army and singing in honky tonk bars.
It’s worth noting that Rayne was 40 years old when he filmed this movie, a movie that asks him to be in his teens for a good hunk of its running time. Rayne does look and sound like Elvis, but he’s missing some of that Presley bravado. Actually, he’s missing all of that Presley bravado. Actually, this guy has no business being up on a movie screen playing a character that is supposed to parallel Elvis Presley. His act should be reserved for state fairs and cheap casinos only.
The whole thing is just bizarre beyond words, and made even weirder by the fact that this is a movie the producers want church groups to attend. It’s a PG film, but the only thing that makes the movie PG is when Rayne’s precocious Ryan refuses beer at a bar where “reefer” is being smoked.
I watched this movie in complete disbelief, totally aghast, mouth agape, and laughing out loud at its wretchedness while sitting in a completely empty movie theater. The music, with such wannabe hits as “Boogie Woogie Rock and Roll” and “Sunrise Surfin’” is inexcusably awful, and the “Jesus Loves You” undertones are the equivalent of somebody walking up and smashing you in the face with a Bible and then shoving its pages down your throat while you are lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding.
So, this was supposed to be the movie that made Blake Rayne a household name. It succeeds in that, from now on, when my dog vomits on the household carpet I will refer to it as “Blake Rayne-ing.”