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Invisible Id

Insipid Hollow Man uses science to explore the outer edges of puerile male aggression

Another bummer about Hollow Man -- apart from watching Shue play action heroine, burping up lines like "We're gonna take him down!" with a straight face -- is that this technically astounding cart is latched in front of the dead horse of a miserable script. For example, the special effects team led by Scott E. Anderson renders the outline of the invisible Sebastian in water, steam, foam and thermal-vision, as his victims struggle to catch sight of his form. (We're forced to forget that they own spray paint.)

But why bother? For science and lurid sexuality, we've already got plenty of Cronenberg in the can. And even if you're not in the mood for latter-day Chevy Chase, there are plenty of intriguing invisible man movies on offer, especially the best one, with James Whale and Claude Rains giving us a classic in 1933. In retrospect -- especially in light of Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters -- it's pretty easy to see that movie for what it was: a metaphor for being a reviled and "unseen" outsider. It also had a character arc, whereas here we have Bacon (who complained recently to the press that he's got a board game but no Oscars) transforming from a cruel, arrogant jerk to an invisible cruel, arrogant jerk. Perhaps the only way to appreciate Hollow Man is as a stark view of impotent male rage. At least the title fits.

Strapped down: Kevin Bacon's not about to break out of his Oscar jinx with this miserable film, which also drags down Elizabeth Shue.
Stephen Vaughan/SMPSP
Strapped down: Kevin Bacon's not about to break out of his Oscar jinx with this miserable film, which also drags down Elizabeth Shue.

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