Black comedy doesn't get much clumsier than Jay Floyd's "Forgiving the Franklins." Intended as a spoof on a hypocritical Christian fundamentalist family, pic is a tin-eared laffer whose inclusion at Sundance, even in non-competitive Spectrum section, feels like a mistake. Comedy, which could give anti-religious movies a bad name, lacks any commercial promise.
Ultra-religious Franklin clan, led by dad Frank (Robertson Dean) and mom Betty (Teresa Willis), appear robotically cartoonish, save the fact that son Brian (Vince Pavia) is secretly gay. A car crash sends Frank, Betty and Brian -- but not daughter Caroline (Aviva) -- to a near-death experience with Jesus (Pop DaSilva), which has the strained effect of turning the threesome into ravenously sexual creatures. Lensing and camerawork are way below par.
Camera (color, DV), Floyd; editors, Floyd, Lawrence Benedict, Elizabeth Schroder; music, Cindy O'Connor. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 25, 2006. Running time: 99 MIN.