The premise of 'Vibes,' which bills itself as a psychic comedy, is entertaining enough: Two psychic misfits get thrown together in a misadventure in the mountains of Ecuador, fall in love and save the world from an evil scientist.
What happens to an interesting plot -- and on the face of it, anyway, an interesting cast headed by Cindi Lauper, Jeff Goldblum and Peter Falk -- turns out to be deadly dull. Directed by Ken Kwapis ('Revenge of the Nerd,' 'Follow That Bird'), 'Vibes' stumbles and fumbles and misfires sure-fire one-liners and zany situations; it ends up being both a confused and confusing jumble of half-witted comedy and ridiculous drama.
It's hard to believe such a promising concept and cast could go so wrong. 'Vibes' doesn't lack for ingenuity. Take for example the especially comic scene of a table full of psychics carping and complaining over lunch; or the death scene of a man reduced to a blithering idiot by his brush with psychic forces; or the wonderful names given the characters: Sylvia Pickel, Nick Deezy, Harry Buscafusco, Alejandro De La Vivar, Ingo Swedlin et al.
But these gems of comedy get totally mistreated in 'Vibes'; they sit there begging for attention, and get lossed in the clutter that fills most of the movie.
Falk, playing a larcenous golddigger, almost pulls 'Vibes' up from its dreary fate. But for all his charm and ditzy wit -- and that he alone seems to inspire Goldblum and Lauper to having some fun with their roles -- Falk still can't save the movie from bad direction and a rotten script.
'Vibes' is full of such frustrations.
Goldblum's character, a psychometrist who can hold an object and tell you where it's been and what's happened to it, and Lauper's, a medium who is aided by a spirit guide from the 'other side,' link up on what they believe is a mission of mercy into the mountains of Ecuador that turns into a search for the ultimate source of energy in the universe. Along the way, the gifted psychics are chased and hounded by a treasure hunter, evil scientist, misguided thug and mediocre psychic. Everything about 'Vibes' screams for over-broad humor; everytime it reaches in that direction, either script, pacing or music better suited to a horror movie get in the way.
'Vibes' has been lavished with obvious care and attention: the location shots are breathtaking and moody; the concept is full of possibilities; the cast seems amenable to acting wacky. But when it came time to make a movie, the vibes for comedy on this set were not in working order.
This film is rated PG. There is some violence and sexual content.