Self/less

Money can't buy happiness, etc., but if it could buy you a new, healthy body whenever you wanted one, like it does here, then I think a lot of people would call that close enough. Of course this happiness has its dark side or it would be a very different sort of movie, but you can't have everything. You see, while Science has perfected the art of transferring the entire contents of the human brain from one body to another, it has sadly neglected the art of creating fresh bodies in the lab, so it has to make do with whatever it can find lying around.

Ben Kingsley (Exodus: Gods and Kings) is Damian Hale, one of the super-rich and powerful, a ruthless real estate mogul in New York. He and his partner Martin (Victor Garber, voice of Master Rhino in Kung Fu Panda 2) have fleeced a lot of people and therefore Damian has it all. Seriously, his entire house is gold, with a little marble here and there for contrast. Unfortunately, he also has a nasty form of cancer that will kill him quite soon. But someone's left him a phone number with a note saying, "He can help you," and when you're in that sort of fix you'd have to be superhuman to resist the urge to dial.

So dial he does, and meets Albright (Matthew Goode, Watchmen), who has all the answers, or likes to think he does. He isn't in this for the money, either, he's just trying to give society's greatest minds more time. The fact that these are also rich minds who can afford huge fees is just a nice bonus.

For a few hundred million, Damian buys the body of Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern). I've just realized that it sounds even worse when you put it like that. Anyway, Damian has to relearn how to walk, get used to a new reflection, and they'll only trust him with plastic utensils, but he's alive. Oh, and he sometimes gets weird, vivid 'hallucinations' featuring a wife and daughter (Natalie Martinez and Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen), which Albright assures him will go away if he just takes his nice little red pills once a day.

But Damian treated his own daughter, Claire (Michelle Dockery, Hanna) pretty badly, so he has a hard time just forgetting this supposedly imaginary little girl. And of course she isn't imaginary at all, and neither is mom, and from there you can see which way things are headed.

It doesn't just turn boring, though, or become yet another chase movie, so don't worry about that. Ryan Reynolds does a good job of seeming not quite at home in his own body most of the time, though now that I type that it sounds like a pretty doubtful compliment, which isn't what I meant. It was a good movie, that's all I'm trying to say, something a little bit different from the usual summer flicks, and though it did have a few weak spots here and there -- the pacing seemed a bit off sometimes, for instance -- it was a good watch, a solid three and three-quarters out of five good. It's a bit like The Box without all the bad thrown in and makes you think about what being selfless really means.

Image: 
Damian and his "wife" share a really awkward hug.

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