Theater helmer Michael Meredith’s tyro film effort takes six interwoven stories loosely adapted from Chekov and soaks them in equal measures of rain, jazz and bathos. Set in Cleveland while the titular storm rages, with everything underscored by a radio-aired jazz fest (deejay Lyle Lovett’s mellifluous voice and spun platters establishing mood and continuity), “Rain” strives for a “Magnolia”-type tapestry of quiet desperation. But after 90 unremitting minutes of badly acted, atrociously written histrionic misery, pic leaves one praying for frogs. Prospects for Wim Wenders-presented opus look grim.
Vignettes, meant to vary widely in tone, range from the elaborate run-on fabrications of an old boozer (Peter Falk), to the inarticulate sorrow of a cabby (Don Meredith) so shocked by his son’s death that he can’t summon requisite small talk for his fares, to the social awakening of a man (Erick Avari) forced to reassess his life when his wife refuses to give chocolate mousse to a hobo. Script and thesping are so morosely one-note — and shot selection so cliched — that would-be ironic twists, tragic stirrings or neat reversals barely register. Cynthia Pusheck’s atmospheric lensing and Bob Beldon’s mellow score deserve a better showcase.