Want to be one of a dozen to ever see a movie?* With a title that could be an uncharitable joke about the careers of leads Cary Elwes, Andie MacDowell, and Frank Whaley, as-bad-as-expected As Good As Dead is a graveyard of ’90s celebrity posing as a political white-knuckler. Elwes plays Ethan Belfrage, a New York City photojournalist with Leftist commitments, taken hostage when his loft is invaded by a gang of Red State redneck Christian white supremacists (MacDowell, Matt Dallas, and strong-arm-man Whaley) looking to avenge the decade-old killing of their Reverend and leader, which their terrorized captive pledges he knows nothing about. Ethan begs his innocence through a gruesome interrogation, in a one-set dinner-theater (torture) chamber piece in which the only suspense is deciding who wins the bad-accent contest (MacDowell does). The vast chasm between director Jonathan Mossek’s TV-movie production and amateurish dialogue on one hand, and his hot-button-mashing self-seriousness on the other, should guarantee hoot-worthy high kitsch. The laughs must contend with gritted teeth, though, as clanking stabs of thriller music pump the lifeless onscreen drama like a defibrillator.
* Generous estimate.