Ripple Effect

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Monterey Media

NEW YORK -- Considering that it's a movie about karma, “Ripple Effect” is not likely to induce any of the positive sort. This murky drama about a man coming to grips with a horrific event from his past squanders whatever qualities its unusually starry cast might have generated with amateurish execution and truly awful dialogue.

Director/writer/star Philippe Caland (“Hollywood Buddha”) must have indeed done something truly good in a past life to have attracted a cast of A-listers including Forest Whitaker, Virginia Madsen and Minnie Driver. But while these performers deliver the goods like the pros that they are, it's to no avail.

Caland plays the lead role of Amer Atrash, a Lebanese-born, L.A. based fashion designer who has found unaccountable past success with, based on the evidence of his own trashy sartorial wear, a truly hideous clothing line. Now his business and his marriage are falling apart, which he reasons is due to his having been involved in a hit-and-run incident 15 years earlier.

Attempting to clear the cosmic slate, Amer looks up the victim, Phillip (Whitaker), now a successful, wheelchair-bound lecturer married with a sexy wife (Driver) whose extra-marital dalliances he freely encourages.

The resulting encounter, depicted in a lengthy scene in which Philip expounds on his Zen-like philosophies, is the thematic heart of the film. But despite Whitaker's typically subtle and moving performance, the film ultimately founders on its cosmic inanities.

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