A few scant pleasures can be had with Repo! The Genetic Opera, a tuneless slab of musical schlock. First comes the sight of Paris Hilton playing the plastic-surgery-obsessed daughter of a future magnate. While singing onstage, her entire face slips off like an especially silky negligee. Yuck—but a fascinating image. Second comes the embarrassing but riveting spectacle of Goodfellas’ Paul Sorvino crooning as the pungently named Rotti Largo, president of a company that reharvests organs when recipients can’t make their payments. Sorvino must think he’s doing Puccini. Finally, the inimitable Joan Jett makes a wordless cameo as a guitarist chugging behind some awful caterwauling. Her smirk says it all.
Working from an underground 2002 stage play, director Darren Lynn Bousman is trying to make the leap from the Saw movies (he did three of them). But he shouldn’t be so quick to forget those films’ crude but effective measures. Bousman’s big idea this time is to float the camera around aimlessly. None of his performances come to life, especially sub-Idol talent Alexa Vega as our heroine. Even a singer as experienced as Sarah Brightman is swaddled in distracting makeup and noise. There’s no song in Repo!’s heart—plus, it’s disembodied and squashed on the floor.