Beyond The Ashes Movie Review

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The 9/11 pity party is in full swing in Beyond the Ashes, yet another meditation on how New Yorkers can't seem to get their lives together after the terrorist bombings.

Liz (Janeane Garofalo, bafflingly present in a humorless film like this) refuses to leave her apartment, despite a lost cat and a crazy man (Giancarlo Esposito) who inexplicably woos her. Judy (a skeletal Nicole Hansen) gets picked up by a guy who may or may not be a cop, dumped in another apartment, and develops a strange relationship with a guy (Tony Spiridakis, the film's writer) who may or may not be a cab driver. A third story follows a bartender (Jennifer Carpenter) with a big secret and who may or may not be a lesbian, being wooed by a punk grrrl musician (Pauley Perrette).

Though there are many problems with the film, the biggest is that the three stories really have nothing to do with one another, except for tenuous encounters and loose friendships. And while it's highly debatable that anyone wants to see another 9/11-oriented movie, if you do make a film about the aftermath of the bombings, your movie ought at least to have a little more to do with them. Liz's neurosis and the cab driver's psychosis are the only real connections to that fateful day, and even those are a stretch. There's also a car covered in dust and ash (hence the title), which hasn't moved in two years -- and which locals see miraculous faces in at sun-up. Woo hoo.

The rest of the film comprises bad jokes (Judy's new boyfriend is nicknamed Punch -- get it?), New York cliches, and spacy plotting that barely manages to make sense. The movie isn't without merit -- and there's some genuine emotion somewhere in here (namely in the lines Spiridakis gives himself), but viewers north of Houston (and elsewhere in the world) will undoubtedly find this production beyond self-indulgent.

Aka Ash Tuesday.

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Beyond The Ashes Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 2003

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