Film review: 'Conversations' is just ludicrous

Published: Friday, Dec. 8 2006 12:06 a.m. MST

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD — * 1/2 — Henry Czerny, Vilma Silva; rated PG (violence, mild profanity).

The facial hair that actor Henry Czerny is forced to wear in "Conversations With God" is ludicrous, even laughable — as is much of this film.

Like other recent movies about new-age spirituality, such as "Peaceful Warrior" and "The Celestine Prophecy," this drama attempts to present a moment of religious epiphany. It is something that is difficult, if not impossible, to depict cinematically.

You can appreciate the filmmakers attempts, though the scenes are played so earnestly that they turn into unintentional comedy.

These "conversations" are based on the best-selling books by Neal Donald Walsch. Canadian actor Czerny ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") plays author Walsch, who was at his lowest point when he found a new purpose for his life.

According to this version of events, the once-homeless Walsch finds fulfilment in his stint as a weekend radio host, only to see the station go belly-up. Shortly afterward, he begins hearing a voice that he believes is God, trying to comfort him and share his wisdom.

So Walsch begins writing down these supposed two-way "conversations" with the Almighty, to share with others the insights he has learned.

There's not much more to the film's plot than that, although somehow director Stephen Simon ("Indigo") and screenwriter Eric DelaBarre ("Kate's Addiction") manage to shape it into a nearly two-hour movie, requiring long scenes of Czerny (as Walsch) despairing about his lot in life. And that facial hair looks less convincing than a second-rate stage production of "Hair." As a result, it's hard to take him seriously, and the film suffers for it.

"Conversations With God" is rated PG for one strong scene of violence (an auto accident) and scattered use of mild profanity (religiously based). Running time: 108 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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