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"The Identical": Like "The Prince and the Pauper," Only the Prince Is the King 

Tuesday, Sep 2 2014
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Dustin Marcellino's very odd musical drama begins with a fascinating premise: What if Elvis Presley's twin brother Jesse hadn't been stillborn, but instead was given up for adoption as an infant because his parents were too impoverished to care for two children? The analogue for Jesse is Ryan Wade (Blake Rayne), who eventually becomes a professional impersonator of Elvisian pop superstar Drexel Hemsley (also Rayne), never suspecting that he's Drexel's twin in spite of the blatantly obvious evidence. There are also hints of The Jazz Singer, as Ryan's adoptive father Reece (Ray Liotta) wants his son to follow him into the ministry instead of indulging in that vulgar rocking and rolling. Unfortunately, the film's songs are largely bland — though in fairness, so were the majority of the songs in Presley's 1960s films — and a bit of dialogue suggesting that Elvis exists in The Identical's universe creates a paradox that should tear a King-sized hole in the space-time continuum. The Identical also has strong religious overtones, but perhaps because it has more of a Judaic bent, it lacks the "Christians are a persecuted minority" hysteria of many current religious films. If anything, the film's message seems to be that God wants you to do your own thing and be happy. What a concept!

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Sherilyn Connelly

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