Review: ‘Creating Karma’

An abrasively unpleasant comedy, whose nauseating visual style and senseless "Benny Hill"-style editing are perfectly matched for the incompetence of its plotting and the humorlessness of its jokes.

Scarcely have five minutes passed in “Creating Karma” before viewers may start to suspect they are the victims of an elaborate Andy Kaufman-esque goof. Surely that’s the most logical explanation for such an abrasively unpleasant comedy, whose nauseating visual style and senseless “Benny Hill”-style editing are perfectly matched for the incompetence of its plotting and the humorlessness of its jokes. Opened in limited release Oct. 16, this shrill pic will likely disappear quietly.

Barest vestiges of a plot concern a buttoned-down magazine editor, Ivana (Carol Lee Sirugo), born to hippie parents with the name Karma. After she loses both job and apartment — since most dialogue is either incomprehensibly garbled or else screamed, it’s hard to understand why this has occurred — she’s forced to shack up with her dippy New Age sister (producer, director and co-writer Jill Wisoff), surrounded by a cadre of freaky types who would’ve seemed overblown even in “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas.” From there, the film descends into groaner gags about Starbucks, open-mic poetry and funny foreign accents, though it mostly relies on goofily costumed extras mugging for the camera. Tech values are execrable.

Creating Karma

Production

A Fantasy Creature Films production. Produced by Jill Wisoff. Co-producer, David Wright. Directed by Jill Wisoff. Screenplay, Carol Lee Sirugo, Wisoff.

Crew

Camera (color), Carter Bissell; editors, Christine Giorgio, Wisoff, David Wright; music, Joel Diamond; additional music, Wisoff; production designer, Kathleen Muldoon; costume designer, Nina Simich. Reviewed at Laemmle Grande 4-Plex, Los Angeles, Oct. 18, 2009. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Carol Lee Sirugo, Jill Wisoff, Karen Lynn Gorney, Joe Grifasi, Roland Sands, Peggy A. Kirkpatrick, Rahad Coulter-Stevenson.

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