Ripple Effect: Bad Writing, Acting, and Editing


Several ordinarily banal movies soldered into one amazingly bad one, Ripple Effect cannot be excused on the grounds of overweening ambition; its every contorted plot line and distended page of dialogue belie an averageness that glazes the cornea on contact. Philippe Caland is the writer-director and also stars as Amer Atrash, a Lebanese immigrant who founds an American Apparel–esque clothing line. A shady drip in a porkpie hat and corkscrew curls, Amer uses the word “baby” in every sentence and cries roughly once a scene. His company is in financial trouble, and his efforts to save it further enervate relations with his wife (Virginia Madsen). Amer’s wet-eyed torment over all of this causes an idea to all but spark over his head in the shape of a 60-watt bulb: He must find the guy he hit and paralyzed with his car 15 years ago. “I have to face this man, baby,” he says, and, unfortunately, the guy’s not kidding. As it turns out, the mystical paraplegic is Forest Whitaker, and Minnie Driver is his wife, a singer in the habit of breaking a few post-performance waves with whoever’s handy. After an hour of endless gabbling, things get truly gnarly when the men do some spiritual off-roading, returning to the scene of the accident to marvel over how the film’s characters—like its bad writing, acting, and editing—are all connected.