Cold Souls (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Cold Souls</strong> (2009)

(On DVD, January 2012) Unabashedly eccentric, comic fantasy Cold Souls teeters at the edge of an entertaining film without quite making the leap from oddity to success.  Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti as a burnt-out actor trying to enliven his life.  The solution goes through a new medical procedure that extracts his soul for storage.  Never mind the yadda-yadda premise; Cold Souls tries for an off-beat fantastic tone that never quite gels, in part because it’s so subtle: The soul remains undefined, the effect of its removal are insignificant to the point of being unnoticeable and you have to be patient before the story gets underway.  After a while, we find ourselves deep into international soul-trafficking as Giamatti desperately tries to get his own soul back after it’s been implanted into a Russian soap-opera actress.  Odd, weird, off-beat, in the tradition of Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind or Being John Malkovich, but never quite the intriguing fantasy it could have been.  Giamatti is, fortunately, quite good as Giamatti.  Some of the design work is decent, and there are a few scenes that charm simply because they seem so unlikely.  Nonetheless, Cold Souls seems a bit too restrained, too subtle to be memorable.  The DVD contains one mildly-interesting design featurette, and half a dozen forgettable deleted scenes.

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