Three Inches (2011)

(On Cable TV, June 2014) There is one truly essential thing to understand about Three Inches: It was the pilot to a never-approved series, and it’s quite specifically geared to be a TV show. This becomes obvious minutes into the film (from the dull opening credit, modest cinematography and obvious breaks where commercials should be inserted), but it helps understand why it seems to hold back so much potential, and also appreciate how a better-than-average script can improve even a failed pilot into something interesting. Three Inches tells the story of a young man who, thanks to being hit by lightning, develops an telekinetic ability –albeit limited to moving objects a mere three inches in distance. What seems like a near-useless supernatural talent, however, is quickly co-opted by a small team of similarly oddly-super-powered individuals, teaming together to accomplish contracts for wealthy clients. Three Inches is probably best in its opening minutes, as a sympathetic hero (Noah Reid) deals with his sudden superpower while undergoing the complicated life of an underachieving twentysomething: Good dialogue, self-aware plotting and decent characters (including a short but funny turn by Andrea Martin as the protagonist’s mom.) Then, alas, it turns into a somewhat far more ordinary quasi-superhero team story, and the freshness of the first few minutes evaporates. The budget issues also become more noticeable, and as the story wraps itself to a conclusion, there’s a strong sense of an entire series premise being set up. Sadly, that potential will remain untapped, as Three Inches will now only exist as filler for cable TV channels. Still, the film is quite better than its “failed pilot” label may suggest, and there are some undeniably good moments early on.

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