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The Donor is the worst film I have ever seen. As a devotee of Troma, Roger Corman and the great Uwe Boll, I am comfortable with cinematic incompetence. However, this film is not only poorly made but implausible, ridiculous, contradictory and most offensively - completely and utterly boring. The Donor is a rambling mess that should be avoided at all costs.
The most incompetent aspect of The Donor is its incredibly inept script. The dialogue is appalling, the characters are one-dimensional caricatures and the plot is completely illogical. The film revolves around Matt, an incredibly unsympathetic businessman, who is being threatened by his in-laws to produce an heir or be disinherited. The catch is that Matt's inane wife, Francoise, turns out to be infertile. So naturally the couple visit a doctor running an illegal, international surrogacy ring. The Donor really descends into the realm of soap opera when Matt is overcome with the urge to meet the surrogate, Sylvia, and promptly falls in love with her.
The overwhelming flaw of this set up is the complete lack of explanation for the character's actions. We never learn why Matt's in-laws are so bombastic or why Matt bows to their every whim. There also appears to be no reason for Matt to stay married to Francoise; he clearly can not stand the woman and even mocks her inability to conceive. Strangely, Francoise warns Matt that she would never allow him to leave her, which makes her an idiotic masochist. Matt's relationship with Sylvia is even more confusing. Matt's yearning to meet Sylvia is as inexplicable as his instant love for her. For someone desperate enough to buy a child to protect his inheritance, Matt suddenly finds the simple life very appealing.
The poor quality of the script is matched by the terrible acting and appalling direction. The most shocking thing about the film is that a number of great actors agreed to appear in it. David Carradine sleep walks through his role as Matt's brother, while Karen Black and James Handy experience career nadirs as Matt's in-laws. They can be grateful that they only had supporting roles and somehow manage to escape from this debacle without entirely ruining their reputations. The same can not be said for the three leads. Pierre Dulat turns in one of the worst performances in film history as Matt. Pierre stumbles through the dialogue with his heavy French accent and only appears to possess one facial expression. Florence Guerin gives new meaning to the word "wooden" as Sylvia, while Coco d'Este makes Pia Zadora look like Meryl Streep as Francoise.
The actors are not helped by Jean-Marie Pallardy's directorial ability (or lack there of). I did not expect too much from the director of "Emmanuelle Goes To Cannes" and "Naked And Lustful" but I was definitely not counting on drawn out tracking shots of a woman walking through an office, extended detours of the countryside and most bizarrely, Matt's long voice-over monologues, which I assume were tacked on when it became apparent that Matt's behaviour is completely nonsensical. Conversely, these monologues are so clichéd and corny that they are occasionally (unintentionally) funny. My favourite is Matt watching Sylvia miming on stage and the voice-over saying "she's so natural!" The biggest disappointment is that one of soft porn's most infamous directors would make something so tame. A larger dose of smut would have at least made this turkey bearable. All The Donor has to offer is quickie on the beach, which is about as erotic as an autopsy.
The Donor is not so bad, it's good. The Donor is so bad, it's criminal. Most bad movies have some redeeming feature, be it unintentional humour, tongue-in-cheek awareness of their own incompetence or at least generous lashings of sex and/or violence. The Donor has none of the above, just a bunch of unpleasant, irrational characters who have way too much time on their hands.
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