Mark Ruffalo’s tortured, emotional parable tries to deal with complicated issues of godliness, faith healing and betrayal, and unfortunately doesn’t succeed. Ah, well, this likable actor is not the first to bite off more than he can chew as a new director.
“Sympathy for Delicious,” screened at the 2010 Sundance Festival and finally getting limited U.S. distribution, tells the story of paraplegic Dean O’Dwyer (actor Christopher Thornton who wrote the script is a close friend of Ruffalo’s. He was actually paralyzed in a rock-climbing accident 20 years ago.) Dean, a gifted former DJ, turns out to have healing powers that are taken advantage of, unwittingly in a way, by Skid Row Father Joe (Ruffalo). Dean doesn’t like the way his gift is used and takes off, joining a band whose gigs he turns into revival meetings. Despite turns by Orlando Bloom, Juliette Lewis, and Laura Linney, the film which has some very watchable and even exciting parts is on the whole poorly written, with preposterous dialogue, and is not helped by underlit camera work.<p></p>Ruffalo is said to have worked ten years on this project. Let’s hope for him that he puts to good use the experience acquired on this failed first directing effort .