Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code

Actually, it doesn't. As directed by Ron Howard, 'The Da Vinci Code' is a perfectly fine adaptation of Dan Brown's formulaic but intriguing novel. Tom Hanks plays ace symbologist Robert Langdon a bit conservatively (he's more like Steve Urkel with cool hair than Indiana Jones), but he's still his charismatic self. Audrey Tautou -- looking quite ravishing in the same blue suit for the entire movie -- makes a fine Sophie Neveu, the French cryptographer who helps Langdon crack the 'Code.' And as Sir Teabing, Ian McKellen does what Ian McKellen does: kicks ass and takes names.

But now on to the good stuff. There's kind of a catch-22 in viewing this film, and I think it explains why critics have ripped it a bigger butthole than the Jolly Green Giant. If you go into 'Da Vinci' having read the book -- as I (and most Americans) have -- there's not a whole lot of suspense. I actually spent a good portion of the movie trying to remember how closely the events unfolding on the screen matched up to those in the novel. When you know not only the outcome but also all the major plot points in between, it kinda sorta takes the edge-of-your-seat aspect out of a thriller, so you have to find other ways to entertain yourself. On the other hand, if you've read the book, you'll be a lot more forgiving to some of the movie's cheesier lines of dialogue and the leaps in logic that stretch the audience's ability to suspend disbelief.

The Da Vinci Code

If you haven't read the book, you're in the exact opposite boat: lots of suspense but an equal dose of unintentional comedy. Not since Brad Pitt got run over by about six cars and an old lady in a motorized cart in 'Meet Joe Black' have so many people laughed at such an inopportune and pivotal moment in a film.

But whether you've read the book or not, whether the movie is good or not, whether you think its religious themes (Jesus indulging in the pleasures of the flesh with his wife!) are too controversial or just plain ludicrous, one thing is certain: Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, et al are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

Tags:The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci, Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Dan Brown, religion, controversy, Jesus, Summer Movies

categories Features, Cinematical