Sucks on many levels

Bob Grimm is raining on my parade.

Bob Grimm is raining on my parade.

Rated 1.0

I really, really like chocolate covered cherries. Really … they’re, like, my favorite candy in the whole wide world, and when I eat them, I smile and sometimes sing.

This has absolutely nothing to do with 88 Minutes, the new movie featuring a grouchy, grousing Al Pacino. I just wanted to say something nice and positive off the bat, to provide a little happiness before the bile I’m about to spew. Wouldn’t want you perceiving me as some sort of Negative Nellie.

The movie stars Pacino as Dr. Jack Gramm, some dickhead with a job you only find in movies. He’s a wealthy doctor and college professor in Seattle, where he teaches young people about the minds of serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. After his testimony contributes to the imprisonment of alleged serial killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough), Forster turns to him in the courtroom and says, “Tick, tock, Doc!” implying that the good doctor’s days are numbered.

Years later, when Forster is about to be executed for murder, Gramm receives a phone call telling him he has only 88 minutes to live. In the nine years of Forster’s imprisonment, the “Seattle Slayer” has been killing women in the same fashion in which Forster supposedly killed his victims, suggesting that perhaps the wrong man went to jail. During the 88 minutes that might be his last, Gramm will be implicated in those murders. I’m not giving much away here … it’s in the commercials.

As the minutes tick away, Grammm gets a lot of phone calls informing him of exactly how many minutes are left before his death. The future killer also leaves signs for Gramm; my favorite is a vandalized car with the exact number of remaining minutes scrawled on the windshield. The villain is able to vandalize the car, make a getaway and perfectly calculate the amount of elapsed time. What if Gramm stopped for a cup of coffee, or perhaps a healthy salad before returning to the car? This is one anal psychic serial killer/car molester.

Pacino just sleepwalks through this thing. The guy looks embalmed, with a comical stack of hair flailing atop his head. You’d be hard pressed to find a Pacino film worse than this, and he was in Gigli. He delivers most of his lines with that drawn out Pacino growl. He tries to “Pacino” his way through the whole freaking mess, to no avail. The man is hopelessly lost this time out.

I have learned some very important lessons from this particular cinematic exercise. Most important would be that Leelee Sobieski is a horrid actress. She is so horrid, large seas near theaters screening this flick will become sick and polluted due to the toxins her acting releases into the atmosphere. There’s a scene in this movie where her character goes to fire a gun. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you should see this movie—and God knows you shouldn’t—watch for the precise moment when her character aims the weapon. Classically, legendarily bad on a scale so lethal scientists have not yet invented the scale for fear the task would have an adverse effect on their endocrine systems.

Director Jon Avnet is criminally bad. No, seriously, somebody should slap some cuffs on the guy, and put him in a cell where he can sulk. Let the bastard sit in a corner wearing the orange jumpsuit thing, giving serious thought to the evil he hath wrought upon this world.

Pacino’s next movie is Righteous Kill, also directed by Avnet. If that doesn’t scare you, consider the fact that the powers that be persuaded one Robert De Niro to costar. Two film greats fumbling and mugging about, coming soon to a theater near you. Buy protection, and warn your relatives.