Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 3.5 Beans
he big marketing point for "Playing God" is, of course, that it's the first feature film starring David Duchovny since he started playing Mulder on "The X-Files." Fans of Duchovny see him all the time on television, and they can rent any number of "Red Shoe Diaries" videos, but the idea was to draw those fans into the theatres. I don't think it worked very well, but "Playing God" isn't a terrible movie. Just one that's not as good as its ideas.
Duchovny plays Eugene Sands, a former doctor who lost his license after a patient died in surgery while he was on drugs. Eugene, that is, not the patient. Anyway, Eugene meets up with Claire (Angelina Jolie, "Hackers") while saving a man's life after a bar fight. Claire is the girlfriend of crime boss Raymond Blossom (Timothy Hutton). Raymond summons Eugene to his luxurious home and offers him a job as a doctor for criminals who shouldn't go to hospitals.
Eugene decides to take the job, and before long is approached by FBI agents who need someone on the inside of Raymond's organization. As predictable as this is, it leads to a few twists later in the film. In between, we are treated to scenes such as Eugene being threatened at gunpoint by a drug-crazed thug because he can't help the extremely dead man in the thug's trailer.
While the film does have some interesting ideas, it ultimately feels too conventional to be really outstanding. David Duchovny has the perfect manner for his part, but his sense of humour and comedic talent (showcased quite well when he hosted "Saturday Night Live") aren't put to use nearly enough. And for those keeping score, Peter Stormare plays another Russian (remember "Armageddon?"). "Playing God" is somewhat entertaining, but most people would probably be better off renting "The X-Files" movie. Or "Red Shoe Diaries 3: Another Woman's Lipstick."
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