Sympathy for Delicious

(2010)

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Review: Sympathy for Delicious

Transcript for Review: Sympathy for Delicious

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Thank you Roger. Our next movie is "Sympathy for Delicious," the directing debut from actor Mark Ruffalo. Christopher Thornton, Ruffalo's longtime friend who also wrote the script, stars as the title character, a DJ known as Delicious D. He's in a wheelchair and homeless, living on Skid Row in Los Angeles. But one day, he discovers he has the power of faith healing.


CLIP 2 -- Homeless man insists Delicious has healed him.


CHRISTY:

That's Ruffalo himself in a supporting role as the Catholic priest who encourages Delicious to use his newfound gift for good -- he also wants to use it as a fundraising tool. But Delicious wants to return to his music, and ends up joining a rock band that includes a drug addict played by Juliette Lewis.

CLIP 1 -- Juliette runs after him outside club


CHRISTY:

It's hard to tell what Ruffalo and Thornton are satirizing here -- religious fervor? Fame? Rock star wretched excess?

CLIP
 
CHRISTY:
"Sympathy for Delicious" feels unfocused, so it's not terribly effective. Ruffalo spent more than a decade trying to get this movie made -- and I'm thinking maybe he was too close to the material, and couldn't really see it for what it was.
 
IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Well, I think it’s unclear what the film is satirizing because it’s not a satire.  
 
CHRISTY:
It absolutely is a satire.
 
IGNATIY:
It is not a satire.  This is a drama about these two characters, about the Thornton character and the Ruffalo character who you know are confronted with this miracle and both of them kind of make the werong decision and then justify it to themselves.  Now, you know admittedly there’s some satirical material in the middle portion and I feel like that section is kind of scattershot, the film somewhat loses it’s way.  But once we get to the trial that kind of dominates the later part of the movie, I think it comes back and it refocuses on this dynamic between Thornton and Ruffalo who are incedently really good together.
 
CHRISTY:
There are a couple of good scenes together and then Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney who of course worked together before “You Can Count on Me.”  They have a couple of good scenes together as well, but the faith healing stuff is very intentionally over the top.  And the rock star stuff is very intentionally over the top and that’s why I believe it is a satire, but I don’t think it ever hits it’s target well enough. 
 
IGNATIY:
You know I will conceded that those scenes are scattershot, but I think that when it works as just a drama between these two characters, it more than makes up for maybe some of the weakness of the Bloom scenes.  I mean there are several when we were talking about Prom it seems that noone can make you know a convincing teenage girl. It seems like no one can make a convincing band either.  You know it’s kind of falling back on these cliches.
 
CHRISTY:
But Christopher Thornton is not convincing either.  He’s just surly and he’s angry and there’s nothing to him, there’s no arch there, there’s no evolution.
 
IGNATIY:
Oh no, I, no, there’s an intensity to that performance especially…
 
CHRISTY:
It’s all one note though.
 
IGNATIY:
But just the way Ruffalo shoots him.  He always shoots him at a low angle with the camera looking up at you know his face.  Whether he’s In the car or he’s in the wheelchair.  It is maybe one note, but it has this intense scuzziness and it really works.
 
CHRISTY:
No, the whole look of it is intensely scuzzy.
 
IGNATIY:
Especially when it changes abruptly towards the end.
 
CHRISTY:
No, the whole look it is kind of grimy and sort of suffocatingly so.