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.