Now it seems not even her stunning looks, skimpy outfits, a topless scene and unique role as a carnival oddity born with wings is enough to save her new mystery thriller “Passion Play.”
The 24-year-old stars alongside acting veterans Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray in the film about a washed-up jazz musician who falls for freakishly beautiful “angel” Lily. Fox and her co-stars – as well as top screenwriter but first-time director Mitch Glazer – have been butchered by critics and industry experts ahead of its limited release this week.
“Astoundingly bad. Unfathomably bad. As bad as any film Uwe Boll's ever made, and then some,” wrote Chris Brumbay of JoBlow’s Movie Emporium, while Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett noted that “if the degree of laughter at the wrong moments and the number of walkouts at the Toronto International Film Festival are any indication, the film will appeal only to the most fondly indulgent.”
Furthermore, The Playlist blog called the “excruciating romantic fairytale” a “cliché-riddled, risible and utterly painful experience that boasts hallmark sentiments and TV movie-of-the-week sensibilities mixed in a disastrous attempt to make a love story about unearned redemption.”
Now Playing Magazine critic Radheyan Simonpillai said that it was “embarrassing for the stars because they try to take such putrid material seriously,” and Variety’s John Anderson predicted that the “hipness of the production will yield poisonous word of mouth.”
Geez guys, say what you really mean.
Those behind the scenes are not expecting cinemas to be sold out, as the DISH Network will debut the $14 million dollar flick VOD on the very same day it goes theatrical.
Adding insult to injury, “Passion Play” isn’t having a star-studded premiere and there was no promotional press day, which comes as no surprise in the wake of wincingly honest Rourke trashing the movie.
“(It is) terrible. Another terrible movie,” he told New York Magazine’s Vulture columnist last month. “But, you know, in your career and all the movies you make, you’re going to make dozens of terrible ones."
Although two days later Rourke remorsefully apologized and tried to retract the remarks by blaming his outburst on being in a “sh**ty mood,” he obviously didn’t learn his lesson. When a New York Observer reporter this week told the Oscar-nominated actor that he was excited to see the film, Rourke candidly responded: “You shouldn’t be, it is terrible… I don’t know if you would want to even watch a slideshow of that.”
Perhaps what one person perceives as trash, others will perceive as treasure.
“Lily’s edge is completely different from most of the characters I’ve played. She’s not a bitch or a badass or a man-eater. She’s innocent. I read the script and it was so beautiful it made me cry. I read this one over and over,” Fox said, according to the press-distributed production notes. “Everybody I gave it to reacted the same way. And everybody was in love with it.”
And given Rourke’s tumultuous history with substance abuse, it sounds as though at some point he really did connect with his character’s painful past.
“It’s a movie about the winding roads of destiny, and things that happen which are out of our control. It’s a bumpy journey, with two people just trying to find a little daylight in a lot of darkness,” he said. “I was out of work for 14 years because of my behavior and I have nobody to blame but myself… so after being out of work for 14 years I was able to look in the mirror and go, ‘I got nobody else to blame but the a**hole in the mirror.’”