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Commandments Reviews

The music is portentous, the production design gloomy and the cinematography oppressively dreary. Seth Warner (Aidan Quinn) is a latter-day Job, a beleaguered New Yorker whose cosmic run of awful luck begins with the drowning of his beloved wife and ends with a freak tornado sweeping through his house. Naturally, when he takes to the rooftops to wail a cosmic wail of torment, he's struck by lightning. Seth's response to God's torments is to vow he'll break every one of the 10 commandments, one by holy one. Did we mention that this is ostensibly a comedy, though the only way you'd know it is by paying close attention to the advertising? Chortle as Seth puts other gods before the Lord his God by mingling with Buddhists. Titter as Seth takes the Lord's name in vain, fails to keep holy the Sabbath and dishonors his devout father by making a scene in the synagogue. Don't go away -- the belly laughs are coming: Seth commits adultery with his late wife's sister Rachel (Courteney Cox). OK, humor is subjective. But it's hard to imagine anyone snickering over Seth's dilemma, particularly as Quinn plays him: a decent man in real pain. And his personal vendetta against God is fraught with horrible possibility: That sixth commandment -- the thou shalt not kill one -- is tough to break frivolously. By the time the miraculous (if slimy) ending rolls around, atheists will be praying for the torment to be over.