• Nate Adams

Review: Convoluted sci-fi fantasy 'Bliss' is anything but


Courtesy of Prime Video

The unlikeliest pairing in recent memory, Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek are caught rummaging through a strange alternate reality in “Bliss,” which is basically “The Matrix” but with dumber tech and a Bill Nye cameo.


Mike Cahill’s messy film spirals in several directions, none of them blissful as the title would suggest. Part romance, part dystopian society, all bizarre, Owen Wilson - who doesn’t say enough “wows!” to push this into camp territory - is a pencil pushing call center employee named Greg. Stuck on an endless loop searching for something, anything, to make him feel stimulated, he winds up meeting Isabel (Hayek) who begins spewing the true nature of the reality they’re currently living.


Greg is stuck in a simulated, digitally rendered society where he’ll venture down a path of self discovery. In the real world, he’s a vegetable with a tube down his throat and the only way to extract himself is procuring what’s essentially a macguffin. Nobody will knock Cahill’s aspirations, which demonstrates a nifty trick or two, but trying to explain the nonsense of the disastrous screenplay hinders the overall impact. (Good luck describing how pills can bend and contort objects).


“Bliss'' gets bogged down by mindless lore and mythology, which leaves Wilson to level more serious moments and the long silent patches where the camera documents his journey isn’t the worst showcase, but his chemistry with Hayek fizzles just as quickly as it starts who’s mad scientist energy sends “Bliss” down the path of no return.


There’s almost a so-bad-its-good quality to “Bliss” and the ambition displayed by the “Another Earth” filmmaker is commendable, but it won’t take a pill to help you forget this terribly acted clunker.


Grade: D+


BLISS debuts on Amazon Prime Video Friday, February 5th.