Toronto On My Mind

by Djb September 12, 2008
Toronto International Film Festival

Next up, an even worse movie.

Luckily, the bad movies at TIFF didn't all send me into an existential tailspin. Our next film was so gleefully terrible that I don't mind telling you about how excruciating it was to sit through, how hilariously savaged it will be if it gets released, and how I can already picture the Entertainment Weekly capsule review that compared Uncertainty to an overwrought redux of Sliding Doors before banishing it to Slow Roll hell forever.

As much as they think they're artsy enough to avoid the comparison, Scott McGehee and David Siegel's Uncertainty is Sliding Doors without being a middling comedy. Because "middling" is the nicest possible word that could possibly be bestowed on such a gorgeous piece of garbage as this.

Uncertainty stars the stone foxy Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his talentless co-star Lynn Collins. Collins is another one of those dime-a-dozen brunette starlets who fits a certain physical type: she's a Jessica Biel clone sent to the Kate Beckinsale School of Bad Face Acting where she got an F in Being As Pretty As Evangeline Lilly. Then she starred in hateful movies like The Number 23 and Nothing is Private (there it is again!), kicked around in TV for as long as it would have her, and is now starring in a lame festival movie which I hope you will only get to see if you are doing so to marvel at how movies so pointless ever get made in the first place.

And that's the operative word to describe Uncertainty: it was pointless. Here's the plot: Sliding Doors. Okay. I'll try and do a little better than that. Douchey couple Kate and Bobby stand in the middle of a bridge in New York. They flip a coin and run in two different directions. Two versions of the couple emerge, one staying in Manhattan and the other taking off for the outer boroughs for a July 4th party with Kate's family. The Manhattan couple finds a misplaced cell phone in the back of a taxi. They quickly discover that people want to get their hands on this cell phone so badly that they will gun a man down in the middle of a crowded Manhattan street in broad daylight in an attempt to get it back. Still, after seeing a murder right in front of their eyes, the couple for some reason decides to try and extort half a million dollars from the Russian mob in exchange for the phone. We are never offered a glimpse into the motivation for why they need the money so badly: Kate's character is an actress appearing in a Broadway show and Bobby does something in computers, so they're clearly not that bad off. So she's pregnant...lots of people get pregnant and don't try to extort a half a million dollars from the Russian mob. Their move is a desperate and impulsive one, and there is nothing in their characters that would indicate they are or have until this point been desperate or impulsive. They become embroiled in a plot so intense and horrifying you're left to ponder why they thought it would turn out any other way. I mean, their relationship to the phone kicks off with them WATCHING A MAN GUNNED DOWN ON A CROWDED CITY STREET IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. If someone does something like that in front of you, do not fucking fuck with those people.

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