After her rational father suffers an existential crisis and suddenly goes mad, woman-child Mona Gray (Alba) gets stuck in an OCD loop of her own, shutting out life until her mother (Braga) gets her a job teaching the one thing the young woman loves: mathematics. Fighting through misanthropy and agoraphobia, she connects with a class of precocious kids, tentatively flirts with a smitten science teacher (Messina) and eventually learns to grow up.
Like something faultily manufactured at a cuteness factory, Marilyn Agrelo's drama desperately tries to ingratiate itself, littering the screen with mental illnesses translated as adorable quirks, and sympathetic lost souls displaying a virtual DSM's worth of maladies, from social anxiety to numerological obsessions. (The entire cast, meanwhile, seems to have some form of Asperger's.) Except for two brief summits between Alba and Messina's pillowy lips, however, An Invisible Sign fails even to pander effectively. Almost every scene plays like early draft ideas prematurely realized, and plausible human behavior remains stunningly elusive. When an errant ax lands in Alba's thigh, the film goes from inept to kind of brilliantly bad; it's a teachable moment, though lessons learned may vary. With an earnest fiasco like this, sometimes it's better simply to laugh rather than decry.
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