Playing God (1997) — The mafia makes Mulder an offer he probably could’ve refused

“Stop the car? THIS IS A CAR CHASE! I went to considerable expense to set this up. We can’t just stop!”

Justin’s rating: Trust me, Scully, you have to see this.

Justin’s review: David Duchovny is not God, despite what Kym might tell you. But he is a great straight man, and this carries well into Playing God. It’s a heartwarming movie for everyone who’s either been kicked out of med school or disavowed as a doctor. And really, who hasn’t been?

Duchovny (my friend once pronounced it “Do-cho-vny” and I had to beat him to death with his own shoes) has a bit of a role change as a drug-addicted ex-doctor with a high level of stoicism, but it’s pure gold. He has a bunch of voice-over narration that helps this quirky movie segue beautifully, and he keeps those one-liners zinging as if he was still in the FBI, instead of running from it (I kept wanting to shake the TV when the FBI guys were interrogating him, to say to them “Knock it off! Mulder’s gonna bust you!”).

Playing God is a well-done flick, certainly deserving of having a spot on our roster, but there is one problem. A small problem. Timothy Hutton as the mob boss. This guy is so tiny, he looks like Leonardo DiCaprio could give him a wedgie in their mutual gym class. Hutton does not convince me that he’s a scary mob boss, thank you.

Kyle’s rating: 4 out of 5 surgeries where illegal substances play a part

Kyle’s review: I like this movie, even though I’m mad that they sold the title from my future autobiography. Oh well, I’m sure I can think of a new one. Where was I? Oh, this movie is pretty good. Obviously it owes its very existence to Pulp Fiction (as so many modern movies do) since now being a criminal good-guy is kinda “in.”

And you don’t get more criminal than a drug-addicted disgraced doctor who is illegally performing operations without a license. But don’t worry, because the doctor in question is David Duchovny, so he must be a good guy.

Basically Duchovny gets roped into doing “favors” for crime lord guy Timothy Hutton while being attracted to Angelina Jolie and eventually fighting the good fight with and without the help of the FBI. And if you happened to see the theatrical trailer don’t get excited: the Duchovny-Jolie love scene got cut. But the two of them still have good chemistry together, even if Jolie is a little chunky for my superficial tastes.

But that charm and the sarcastic detachment of everybody in the movie is pretty neat; these may be people doing bad or good things, but no one is afraid to comment ironically about it. And that what counts, isn’t it?

This is a great little quirky crime movie. It is somewhat important for you to be a fan of The X-Files ahead of time, however, just so that you’ll know Duchovny is supposed to be a good guy. You might be confused otherwise. Oh, and the little FBI gag makes everything worth it for me!

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