Review: ‘The Genius Club’

Smart characters don't always mean smart movies, and "The Genius Club" is no exception.

Smart characters don’t always mean smart movies, and “The Genius Club” is no exception. Nominally an intellectual thriller about seven men and women with 200-plus IQs fighting a nuclear bomb threat, writer-director Tim Chey’s shrill, overacted ensemble piece takes far too long to get around to its eventual point — an impassioned defense of God in a world gone mad. Unsavory blend of cynicism and mawkishness might find a niche among indie-seeking Christian audiences on DVD, if not theatrically. Limited run kicks off Nov. 2 in Los Angeles.

A cancer-stricken artist (Tricia Helfer), a Nobel Prize-winning economist (Philip Moon) and a grungy pizza deliveryman (Stephen Baldwin) are among the super-smarties detained late one Christmas Eve by a gleefully taunting madman (Tom Sizemore), who gives them until 6 a.m. to solve the world’s ills or get blown to kingdom come. Ensuing heated discussion points the finger at politics, war, corporate greed and, inevitably, religion, but the mostly risible dialogue and pointlessly sarcastic, ill-tempered outbursts will have viewers screaming for the bomb to go off already. Eventual argument for God’s existence is earnest, well-articulated, but too little, too late. Low-budget tech credits are fine.

The Genius Club

Production

An Eleven Arts release of a River Rain Prods., Niceday Pictures production. Produced by Arch Bonnema, Daishi Takiishi, Tim Chey. Executive producers, Keiki Nishimira, Stephen Baldwin, Tom Sizemore, Jack Scalia. Co-producers, Mike Tarzian, Alisha Dickinson, Douglas White. Directed, written, edited by Tim Chey.

Crew

Camera (color), Tyler Allison; music, Daniel Bijan; production designer, Steve Arnold; art directors, Koichi Minamizuka, Harris Reggy, Rebecca Bloom; set decorator, Lia Roldan; costume designer, Jayme Bohn; sound, Sam Hamer, Gerald B. Wolfe; visual effects supervisor, Issei Oda; visual effects, Niceday L.A., Niceday Tokyo, Niceday Boy; assistant director, Thomas E. Nicholson; casting, Alisha Dickinson, Lorna Johnson, Douglas White. Reviewed on DVD, Glendale, Calif., Oct. 28, 2007. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Carol Abney, Stephen Baldwin, Jacob Bonneva, Tricia Helfer, Matt Medrano, Philip Moon, Paula Jai Parker, Huntley Ritter, Jack Scalia, Tom Sizemore.

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