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Commandments

Starring Aiden Quinn, Anthony LaPaglia and Courtney Cox
Written and Directed by Daniel Taplitz

Someone out in Hollywoodland must have looked at the box office numbers for the megahit Seven and wondered how they could top it. The thinking may have gone something like: "Well, there are seven deadly sins and TEN Commandments. Ten is more than seven and there you have it."

The problem is, as one character puts it, "I break 5 or 6 commandments before breakfast," which puts writer/director Daniel Taplitz in an interesting position -- how do you make it interesting. Simply, it ain't easy.

You could try making it into a comedy, which is what is feebly attempted in the film Commandments but you still have to deal with that sticky one that reads "Thou shalt not kill." All the stuff about adultery and coveting makes good screen fare, especially when the target is the damn fine Courtney Cox.

Cranky says: work a Bible quiz in your mind. Name three important biblical characters whose names begin with the letter "J," and then mix all their stories together. That's what Commandments is, and as such it's an OK flick, but not much more than that.

You have the story of "Job," which lays heavy on the life of Seth Warner (Aiden Quinn) who loses his wife, home and job in short order as the movie starts. Determining that it is God who is noodling him with the Fickle Finger Of Fate, Seth decides to break every one of the Ten Commandments, and so there. Without a home to return to, Seth takes his broken dog and plops down in the apartment of his philandering half-brother, Harry Luce (Anthony LaPaglia) a tabloid reporter who thinks the ultimate fulfillment of all ten would make a good story. Seth's sister-in-law Rachel (Cox) suspects that Harry is a cheat and finds herself, it turns out, more than attracted to the man sleeping on the couch.

As for the other two "J" guys, the beatific smile on Seth's face when all is said and done clues you into the first, but how he gets the look is the other story, and I'm not giving that away.

Commandments is a mildly amusing piece of work, something that would work well on a TV screen, but not much more than that. It's two pretty people falling for each other. The odd man out doesn't look as good. There's a minor subplot about an older couple and the Will of God, but it doesn't add much but a bemused smile and a couple of minutes.

3.00

It'll work better on your television set.

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