The scenery chews up the actors in Terence Gross’ “Hotel Splendide,” a baroque melange of half-baked surrealism and strained absurdity. Freely borrowing visual tropes from “Delicatessen,” “Brazil,” “Barton Fink” and a dozen or so other sources, this ill-conceived comedy manages to be stunning and soporific at once. Pic boasts a few random moments of droll wit and a game performance by Toni Collette — who appears to be channeling Liza Minnelli’s Pookie Adams from “The Sterile Cuckoo.” Fests may beckon, but ticketbuyers will stay away in droves.
Collette plays Kath, a spirited sous-chef who returns after a five-year absence to the title location, a spectacularly dilapidated resort and health spa on a picturesquely desolate coastline. She seeks reconciliation with Ronald (Daniel Craig), the most levelheaded of three siblings who operate Hotel Splendide just the way their late mother wanted, as a purgative purgatory for a dwindling clientele of wan eccentrics. Enemas, thermal mud baths and flavor-free cuisine are prime attractions for paying guests. Audience endures an equally unpleasant regimen, as pic repeatedly focuses on mildew-encrusted tiles, drippy and corroded water pipes and dining room walls as cruddy-looking as an unattended aquarium.