Executive producers, Anil Urmil, Felicity Newman. Co-producers, David W. Smith, Richard A. Rosen.
Directed, written by Paul Davids. Camera (color, digital video-to-35mm), David W. Smith; editor, Eileen Mulvey; music, Brad Warnaar; production designers , Eva Fried, Robert Rotstan; art director, Jim Barry . Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Cinema), Aug. 30, 1999. Running time: 101 MIN.
With: Abbott Alexander, Lisa Waltz, Lou Wagner, Sally Kirkland, Brian Drillinger.
Vincent van Gogh died an impoverished suicide in 1890, never to see his paintings become treasures valued in the tens of millions — or to witness his myriad screen incarnations, of which this dimwitted comic fantasy is the latest and by far the least. Executing a feeble premise with embarrassing ineptitude, “Starry Night” looks a long shot for commercial exposure in any format.
A peasant woman’s magic potion brings the artist back to life more than a century after his death, plopping him down in the middle of Pasadena’s Rose Parade. Stunned by his posthumous success, but unable to convince anyone of his identity, Vincent (Abbott Alexander, sounding and acting like a B-pic leprechaun) begins stealing back his works from collectors, pursued by LAPD detective Murphy (Sally Kirkland). An ambulance-chasing lawyer (Lou Wagner) and a lovely young artist (Lisa Waltz) begin to believe his claims. Writer-helmer Paul Davids, a Universal VP who had a producing hand in the docu “Timothy Leary’s Dead” and TV’s “Roswell,” proves hapless to cover pic’s low-budget constraints. Scenario mixes lame humor and treacly sentiment, while disembodied-sounding dialogue, synth score and wobbly perfs complete the amateurish package.