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Dean O'Dwyer, also known as ""Delicious D," is an up-and-coming DJ on the underground music scene in Los Angeles. When a motorcycle accident leaves Dean paralyzed, he abandons his turntables for a wheelchair as his once promising career disappears before his eyes. Forced to live out of his car on skid row, Dean begins his descent into depression when he meets Father Joe Roselli, a passionate young priest. Father Joe introduces Dean to the world of faith-healing, an unlikely way for him to begin his quest to walk again. He soon discovers that he possesses the otherworldly power to heal people, but in an odd twist of fate, he is utterly unable to heal himself. Despite Father Joe's warnings, Dean angrily decides to use his newfound gift for fame and fortune. He joins a rock band led by charismatic front man The Stain with bassist Ariel, and manager Nina Hogue. But his newfound notoriety is unable to cure the hurt that encompasses his life. To find true healing, Dean must ultimately ... Written by
Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut is an odd-mix of uneasy laughs
The title makes no sense unless you know the main character's DJ name is "Delicious D". With this, there should be little confusion as one watches Sympathy. Sympathy for Delicious is well-respected actor, Mark Ruffalo's (The Kids Are All Right, Zodiac, Shutter Island) directorial debut and it was penned by one of his long-time friends who happens to play D (Christopher Thornton, a paraplegic who wrote the screenplay because of the lack of roles available to him in Hollywood).
D was an up-and-coming music DJ in the rock world of SoCal until he is injured and finds himself confined to a wheelchair ... the story begins after this has happened and we find D living out of his car on Skid Row where he comes to the attention of a local priest played by Ruffalo. After a chance encounter with a fellow homeless man suffering from both gout and Alzheimer's, D finds out he has been given a Divine gift and can miraculously heal others (but alas ... he is unable to heal himself).
Upon this discovery, the priest briefly puts Delicious to work doing God's will ... until D gets it into his head that he should be making TONS of money for healing others and so he makes a name for himself with the help of an odd rock band that decides to cash-in on his abilities. Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings, Elizabethtown, Haven) and Juliette Lewis (Conviction, Cape Fear, Strange Days) play fellow band mates while Laura Linney (The Truman Show, Kinsey, You Can Count on Me) co-stars as their icy and conniving manager who readily admits to exploiting their Divine find. By making such a public, high-profile spectacle of himself and telling everyone he's only doing everything for $$$ ... D opens himself up to all kinds of scrutiny (and he isn't up to the task of taking it all in). It doesn't help that his lone friend in the band, Lewis, sees him as a sell-out which causes things to spiral out of control. And, well, BAD things happen ...
I didn't believe much of what unfolds on screen (I allowed myself to buy into this premise ... but come on) which makes THIS story that much harder to accept. My primary problem: if there are some major stretches taken early-on, why is there no leeway later in the film when the "stretching" should still be allowed?! Sympathy wanted to "have it both ways" for dramatic effect which is simply the error(s) of screen writing 101 I am sure.
This is a VERY difficult story to make humorous (the film is classified a "comedy" on IMDb). I viewed it as much more of a tragedy as it is a film about some VERY lost individuals; but I am sure some might find it funny/hilarious (I didn't ... laughing at an actress pretending to have cerebral palsy isn't laugh-out-loud funny). Sympathy for Delicious has some good moments and it is a promising debut from a new director; but the subject matter is simply too tricky. Had it presented/sold itself differently from the outset, I might have viewed it differently ... but there is a bit too much ultimate trite-ness here for me to appreciate (not to mention D isn't very LIKE-able -- which, in turn, makes the film difficult to like as well).
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