Review : Self/Less is a cinematic factory of sadness

I feel that sometimes producers in Hollywood just don’t think.They will react to an actor they may enjoy watching on the silver screen and then try and build a movie around that person. A perfect example of this would be Magic Mike XXL and the male lead Channing Tatum. I am convinced that the producers thought that just the idea of seeing Channing Tatum in any capacity would drum up massive ticket sales. As we all soon learned, Channing Tatum was only good enough to earn Magic Mike XXL 4th Place in its opening weekend. What it boils down to is no matter how many wonderful leading actors you may have, a movie’s success is based on much more than a pretty face or great abs. The same can be said for the movie Self/Less. Even though Ryan Reynolds is far and away the biggest star in this movie, he’s simply not enough to make this it a success.

The movie starts off with Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) coming to the realization that his time on this earth is short as is diagnosed with inoperable cancer. His only hope is the radical medical procedure known as “shedding” in which his consciousness is transferred to a healthy body. After the procedure, Damian, now called Edward (Ryan Reynolds), starts a new life but is troubled by the disturbing images that he keeps having. He quickly learns that these are images of a past life that someone would kill him over.

Based on what I saw, I am convinced that the biggest objective with Self/Less was trying to get an A-List celebrity to sign on to the project. Once Ryan Reynolds signed on the dotted line, I am sure that they  elated but quickly came to the realization,“oh crap, we actually have to develop a script for this movie.” Which then a production assistant must have responded “What does it matter, we got People magazine’s sexiest man alive!” That had to be somewhat close to what transpired for that is the only logical reason for what transpired on that screen. Self/Less is a meandering, dull, and confusing mess from beginning to end. I felt no empathy for the characters on screen and what they were going through (and as one of the characters is dying from cancer I probably should have). The actors can only do so much and when the  script is bordering on pathetic then you end up with what you end up with. Self/Less is a cinematic factory of sadness that will make you want to leave 20 minutes into it and demand reparations for the suffering you had to endure during this pointless movie. The only thing that saved this movie from being the worst experience I have had in 2015 was the fact that it wasn’t Magic Mike XXL.

I know Ryan, I'd be upset as well if I was in this film
I know Ryan, I’d be upset as well if I was in this film
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.