By Alan Scherstuhl
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Communicating with the dead can be a mixed bag, special-abilities-wise, and in Odd Thomas, the eager-to-please latest effort from director Stephen Sommers(The Mummy), great paranormal power requires great responsibility.
Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin of the recent Star Treks) — yes, that's his real name — sees dead people. However, unlike that useless Sixth Sense kid, O.T. actually uses this talent to solve the murders of the recently deceased.
Just now hitting theaters after legal disputes put the kibosh on its summer 2013 release, Odd Thomas finds Sommers swinging for the fences like, well, like a guy whose last directorial effort was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Adapting the first book in Dean Koontz's bestselling series, Sommers and company are in full-on franchise launch mode. There's the upstart leading man, with Yelchin ably portraying both hangdog and heroic; a superhero supporting cast that includes the Jim Gordon-style paternal policeman (Willem Dafoe) and requisite gadget guy (a perfunctory Patton Oswalt); there are sinister nemeses in the form of the otherworldly "bodachs" whose arrival heralds bloodshed; and a final shot that may as well have dissolved to "Odd Thomas will return in Odd's Bodkin" (or something). But will he?
Odd's powers are never clearly defined, but it appears that, in addition to seeing the dead, he can sense danger, like an overly tousled Peter Parker, and mind-meld with people, which is of particular amusement considering Yelchin's other franchise.
Sommers's script relies on rapid-fire banter between Odd, girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn (Addison Timlin) — yes, that's her real name — and Chief Porter (Dafoe), but occasionally feels forced. Think Gilmore Girls, if there were an episode where Satan possessed Rory. Still, there are signs of life among all the dead.
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