Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The word on this film, ‘The Chosen One’, is that it was finished some three years ago, had a change in directors and ran out of money in addition to all kinds of issues before it finally saw the light of day a couple of months ago, this being late in 2010 so we can get our timelines straight. Eventually it looks like Xenon has seen fit to distribute and market this movie and as such there is a trailer out there. Now this trailer portrays ‘The Chosen One’ as a comedy and I should mention the last film that I saw directed by and starring Rob Schneider was ‘Big Stan’, a film which shocked me in how freaking funny it was. I’m just saying that Rob Schneider the director has built up a lot of good will with me, despite the fact after seeing the trailer for ‘The Chosen One’, a trailer that was engineered to sell this movie as comedy, wasn’t very funny. There’s a simple reason for this of course, that being that ‘The Chosen One’ isn’t truly a comedy. At least it’s not a comedy the way ‘Big Stan’ was a comedy. This is a comedy in the way that ‘American Beauty’ was a comedy, not that I’m comparing ‘The Chosen One’ to ‘American Beauty’, but there you go. The problem with this is that while you are watching this movie, working on the assumption that it is supposed to be funny, you will disappointed that it simply isn’t very funny until it finally sinks in that it’s not supposed be. At least it not supposed to be that kind of funny. It’s too bad that they marketed this film the way that they did because as a light social drama ‘The Chosen One’ wouldn’t have seemed as poor as it initially appeared… once you finally realize that this is what it is.

Paul’s life has taken a turn for the worse. He’s an alcoholic, his wife has left him, his job as a car salesman is unfulfilling and he’s just burnt up a good portion of his house. To remedy his problem Paul has opted to hang himself dead until he receives a fateful knock on his door.

At Paul’s door are three wise men and their interpreter Marisa (Carolina Gomez) and these good people have informed Paul that he is the Chosen One and the fate of the planet earth is in his hands. Of course Paul being a stumbling suicidal drunk doubts this, but nonetheless these four Colombians have moved in and are performing all kinds of suspect rituals to prepare Paul for whatever it is he’s supposed to do. Note that this something is in some way connected to a torn down hawks nest in New York City but we’re not going to get into all of that.

Paul’s problems didn’t just begin when we met him, no sir. He and his brother Neal (Steve Buscemi) don’t get along all that much, Paul’s mom Ruth (Holland Taylor) carries around the heartbreak of the loss of Paul’s father like a boat anchor and there’s the issue of how Paul’s old man kicked the bucket in the first place. Paul has to conquer all of these issues, and a few more, if he’s going to fulfill his destiny and save what is most important. Whatever that may be.

‘The Chosen One’ is a strange little movie. It’s clearly a lower budgeted film considering the majority of the action, as it were, takes place in Paul’s house but it is still pretty darned ambitious in the story it was trying to tell despite its obvious limitations. Once you come to the stark realization that the comedic marketing is a ruse and you settle in to the actual narrative and theme of this film, it does get better. I don’t know if it ever becomes a movie that I would call a ‘good’ movie but at least I understand what it is and what it’s trying to say for the most part.

Co-directing his own co-written script, Schneider’s film is one that deals with loss, redemption, acceptance and forgiveness among other emotional devices, all sprinkled with a healthy dose of environmentalism. This is a lot of stuff to deal with in the short amount of time that we are given, all while trapped in this guy’s living room. Thus I believe we have the main problem with ‘The Chosen One’ in that it was just too ambitious and had too many branching elements it was attempting to negotiate, which left us with a narrative that didn’t feel all that cohesive. If Schneider could’ve narrowed his view a little bit, I am of the mind that the movie would’ve benefited from a more focused scope and ultimately delivered a film that was easier to get with.

Rob Schneider the dramatic leading man took some getting used to, again mainly because we thought this movie was going to be a comedy, but he did mange to pull it off and gave the audience a very tangible three dimensional character for us to latch on to, and the supporting roles were more than adequate. But while we appreciate the effort that was put into ‘The Chosen One’ and even if we had the pre-knowledge that this was a serious dramedy from the get go, the execution still comes up short of the mark due to an overall lack of focus within its convoluted narrative.

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