An awkward cross between “Amelie” and “The Million Dollar Hotel,” English lingo multi-character dramedy “Close to Heaven” is a far cry from the whimsy of the former and much closer to a jaw-dropping miscalculation of the latter. There’s little discernable market for this ill-conceived oddity beyond undiscerning cablers and indiscriminate homevid junkies.
Ensconced in a makeshift rooftop studio of the titular hotel overlooking Prague, African artist Samuel (Jean Michel Francis Gogo) narrates details about the eccentrics living below him. Disparate boarders include lisping magician Ernest (Petr Vanek, doing a fair imitation of “Down by Law”-era Roberto Benigni); the mysterious Jaegermeister (Miroslav Taborsky); and fussy owner Gut (vet Arnost Goldflam). A small meteorite crashes into the roof, and Samuel begins a relationship with winsome Emily (Tuva Novotny, Swedish star of “Stratosphere Girl”). An unfortunate undercurrent of racial condescension won’t play well in the West, and perfs, though enthusiastic, are all over the map. Production designer Ivo Navrat’s studio-bound outdoor sets and Martin Preiss’ crisp lensing lend pic whatever feeble aura it can muster, while the less said about the awry cadences of stilted, self-conscious English, the better.