By Rob Blackwelder
This is the kind of one-camera, do-it-yourself independent comedy that wouldn't be half as amusing if it didn't inspire a lot of leeway by looking as if it were made on a budget of about $60. It's the story of the Second Coming, in which a rather cluelessly out-of-step Jesus (pop-eyed Jonathan C. Green) decides his message would be best served, as he battles modern sin in Manhattan, by adopting a cheap Spandex-and-Teva-sandals superhero persona -- Ultrachrist!
Thick with irony, blasphemy and Klezmer music, the movie is clumsy (especially its incessant sex-humor overtones and ineptly expository dialogue), its plot is scattershot (Satan -- who for some reason is the New York City Parks Commissioner -- resurrects Adolph Hitler, Richard Nixon and Jim Morrison to defeat Jesus), and the acting is of the hammy, under-rehearsed one-take, Z-budget variety. Curiously though, that fact seems to serve the film's kooky one-liners well: "The crucifix is the symbol of Christianity?!?," Jesus balks. "I hated the crucifix! Owch!" Of course, the same factor also amplifies the far more prevalent clunkers, like "Never has there been such a concentration of pure sin since the last Daytime Emmy Awards!"
Yet co-writer and (obviously) first-time director Kerry Douglas Dye gives the movie just enough zany, underground, semi-competent, "Rocky Horror"-crossed-with-early-Woody-Allen appeal to win some eye-rolling grins.
**1/2 out of ****
(91m | NR)