Twin Falls Idaho
Director: Michael Polish
Screenplay: Mark & Michael Polish
Cast: Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Michele Hicks
NY Distribution Status: now playing (Sony Pictures Classics)

Grade: C

There's bad, and then there's bogus; neither one is pleasant, but the latter inspires not merely disappointment but outright irritation. Twin Falls Idaho -- just typing the oh-so-clever title, which has nothing to do with the city, sets my teeth on edge -- is far from the worst movie I've seen this year, but it's the one most likely to send my eyes rolling incredulously sky/ceilingward and my hands flailing helplessly into the air; every rave review I've come across has made me want to spit. It's, strike that, it's not about anything, but it involves a pair of moody Siamese twins, played by the film's identical twin auteurs (who aren't actually conjoined; the illusion, created with good old-fashioned physical dexterity rather than expensive computer gimmickry, is remarkably convincing), and their relationship with a tart-tongued but sensitive hooker who comes across like Beetlejuice's Lydia gone to seed. Solemnly eerie and very deliberately paced, the movie has an unmistakably Lynchian feel, but the effect is studied, calculated; it's weirdness for weirdness' sake, which somehow makes the offbeat line readings and curious background details seem cozy rather than discomfiting. Watching one of Lynch's films, good or bad, I always feel as if I've been provided with an unrestricted pipeline to the director's unconscious; the only sense I get from Twin Falls Idaho, on the other hand, is that the Polish brothers are big-ass David Lynch fans. (It has the same relationship to Lynch that Woody Allen's various Bergman and Fellini homages have to their sources -- though I must admit that such respectful emulation is more forgivable from a couple of neophytes than from an artist who's repeatedly demonstrated a singular talent of his own.) Worse, their tepid, predictable screenplay is rife with the kind of heavyhanded symbolism that one usually encounters only in amateur creative writing workshops: a diner breaks a pair of chopsticks apart in close-up; a girl pays for a cab ride with a $2 bill (or gets it in change from the cabbie, I forget which); etc. Give it up, fellas: going over your theme with a yellow highlighter isn't gonna convince anybody that you actually give a damn.