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Movie review: Creation

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I had to laugh after I saw Creation at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, when I read speculation in the press that the reason it was having trouble finding an American distributor was its controversial content.

As if this weak-tea, droopy-drawers drama had a scintilla of anything that might be mistaken for controversy squirreled somewhere within its overlong running time. Perhaps I dozed through that part.

What most people were too polite to say was that Creation (opening Friday 1/22/10) is a colossal snooze: a drama allegedly about a hot-button topic - Darwin's theory of evolution - that buries its most interesting material beneath a mountain of sudsy and dreary psychodrama that's not all that dramatic.

In brief: Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany, with a shaved-back hairline that gives him a Planet of the Apes look) is in the midst of putting his theories into writing, so they can be published and eventually scandalize 20th-century fundamentalists. But he can't focus because he's in such deep grief over his dead daughter that he sees her specter everywhere and falls ill as a result. Then he gets better and writes On the Origin of Species. The end.

In other words, a Lifetime movie about a depressed dad instead of a bereft mom. Would you pay to see that?

This review continues on my website.