The adaptation of Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas has not travelled down an easy road.
With distribution delays and legal action, it’s something of a surprise to find that Stephen Sommers’ film is such an entertaining, likeable and sweet-spirited adventure.
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night) plays the titular Odd, a man who can see the dead, “…but then, by God, I do something about it.” His life spent helping out Chief Wyatt Porter (Spider-Man‘s Willem Dafoe), working as a fry cook at the local diner and being the best boyfriend he can be to Stormy Llewellyn (Californication‘s Addison Timlin) is interrupted by terrifying visions of a horrendously violent event to come. Can Odd save himself, his loved ones and the town?
Sommers may not have the most consistent track record, but he is the man who made The Mummy, and Odd Thomas has a similar commitment to energetic fun. Things get off to a great start, as Yelchin wryly explains his gift while chasing down a man who brutally murdered a little girl through a pool party, showcasing the film’s ability to blend light and dark to surprisingly good effect.
Things only get better as the world gets more fleshed out. Yelchin is on great form, Timlin’s dream girl has more backbone and a sharper tongue than your average love interest, and Dafoe gives his Chief enough odd little moments to compensate for his lack of character development. Seeing the actor unquestioningly take a seat on a child’s elephant-shaped chair is really kind of fantastic.
As fun as the first half is, the script starts to suffer once the central plot has to be dealt with. A lot of time is spent on Odd and Stormy racing around town achieving very little. An over-stuffed finale is entertaining but decidedly clumsy, although the last ten minutes pick up the pieces.
Odd Thomas may be uneven, but it’s never boring. The performances are strong, with Yelchin in particularly showing he’s more than capable of carrying a film. There’s a great mix of light and dark, funny and heartfelt, wacky and tragic, and it’s a film that deserves to find an audience. This is great fun, and you should give it a chance.