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The Custom Mary

Year: 2011
Production Co: Circus Road Films
Director: Matt Dunnerstick
Writer: Matt Dunnerstick
Cast: James Jolly, Alicia Sixto

The DVD jacket of this movie describes it as 'gritty' because it's set in the world of lowriders – those custom bouncing pimpmobiles we always equate with African American urban culture.

Unfortunately there's little grit in it, and not much about lowriders either. It's also not very well acted, not very engaging and kind of cheap.

All of which is a shame because the premise is top notch. An everyday Catholic parish in East LA attended predominantly by blacks and Hispanics is actually a strange cult that's come by the DNA of Jesus Christ himself thanks to samples off the Shroud of Turin.

So the senior members of the church have a diabolical plan – to artificially inseminate a woman in the parish who'll fall pregnant by immaculate conception and give birth to the new Messiah.

They select pretty young local girl Mary (Sixtos), and duly impregnate her just as she embarks on a blossoming relationship with local lowrider mechanic, Joseph (Jolly). A the priest, his manipulative senior figure and father and a scientist monitor Mary's progress, she realises everything might not be above board when the baby shows developmental problems – even when he grows to be a toddler he won't speak a word.

I can't remember exactly what wasn't right about it, but it involved a scheme to bring many more women than just Mary into the conspiracy that was all part of the diabolical plan (even though I can't remember what was diabolical about it). For the male lead of the tale Joe isn't in it a real lot and the somewhat sloppy execution failed to resolve a lot of points the plot raised.

There are some interesting flourishes, like the animated title cards for the changing seasons and discovering halfway through that the narrator was actually the baby speaking. But there are some weird flourishes that don't seem to belong as well like the nerdy scientist's relationship with his overbearing mother (must have been the financier's nephew). Sadly, they can't paper over the large flaws that cut a great idea for a story off at the knees.

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