Arts & Culture » Movies

'Chloe And Theo' comes up short

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Chloe And Theo / C-

Rated PG-13

Run Time: 81 minutes

Good intentions do not a good movie make. Supposedly based on a true story and produced by entrepreneurs Richard Branson and John Paul DeJoria, Chloe and Theo is a tonally confused mish-mash of social guilt, odd-couple comedy, and out-of-left field tragedy.

Inuk Theo (first-time actor Theo Ikummaq) is sent south by his arctic village to deliver a message about the devastating environmental impact of global warming on the Inuit people's world. Landing in New York City, he tries to find the right "elders" to speak to and ends up falling in with a lovable homeless community. There he meets Chloe (Dakota Johnson), a tastefully soiled manic pixie girl, whose quirks include an obsession with Bruce Lee. Chloe agrees to help Theo, and the two target the United Nations as the place to bring his message of conservation and communal sharing.

The movie kicks off with some lovely images of Theo's arctic homeland, and writer-director Ezna Sands includes an enjoyable animated sequence articulating Inuit legend, but the rest of his film is a misguided mess. Ikummaq gives a calm, authentically understated performance but it's a mismatch with Johnson's antic scene-chewing. It's sad to say, but the actress was far more convincing in 50 Shades of Grey. Worse, Sands' script constantly derails the issue of climate change with cutesy fish-out-of-water humor and sitcom-level misadventures, reducing its desire for change to bumper sticker sloganeering. When Mira Sorvino finally shows up as a do-good lawyer in the third act, the plot takes a ridiculous sharp turn toward the tragic, hammering home its too-obvious urge to inspire change. While it's easy to be sympathetic to the kindhearted politics that drive Sands' movie, artistry and dramatic craft matter. Sadly, Chloe and Theo comes up short on both.

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