Urban Outfitters plays at The Rialto, while down the street at the Orpheum, an audience is packed to the rafters, watching The Ape of God, starring Henry McHenry (Adam Driver), an incendiarily disruptive stand-up comic/performance artist who makes Nick Cannon look like Andy Kaufman. (The biggest laugh from his set is a bald-faced lift from Tom Lehrer.) Henry informs his minions that he, a lowly standup comic, is engaged to Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard), a rising opera singer poised to leave her husband in the dust. Imagine an unpointed Groucho, training for his next set like Jake LaMotta shadow boxing in the dark, marrying a simpering Cotillard who, like Kitty Carlise in A Night at the Opera, did her own singing when not hanging in the background like a painting. Add to that the birth of their eponymous wooden daughter — a red-headed Pinochhiette, stringless, computer generated, and a much better alternative to a third go-round for the grimy leprechaun star of director Leos Carax’s Merde and Holy Motors. Revenge is a ghost served cold. Without spoiling things, suffice it to say that baby Annette is suddenly possessed with her mother’s voice, and it’s dad’s bright idea to exploit the hell out of the little freak. What we have here is a downbeat musical of the highest order. As songwriters, Ron and Russell Mael are terrific screenwriters and Carax is no stranger to ladling on the style. But the lyrics — “We love each other so much” x 20, etc. — are this generation’s slightly less annoying answer to Andrew Lloyd Webber. On Amazon Prime. (2021) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.