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MOVIE REVIEW

A numbing shock value

May 23, 2008|Mark Olsen | Special to The Times

Director Uwe Boll has fashioned himself into a half-baked Internet celebrity by sheer force of will, assuming with odd pride the mantle of "most hated" and "worst filmmaker ever." Having made his name with a series of dubious video-game adaptations such as "BloodRayne" and "Alone in the Dark," Boll has fashioned a persona so zestily without taste that the element of Andy Kaufman put-on shines through a little too clearly.

This makes "Postal," another gaming adaptation and erstwhile commentary on the state of post-9/11 America, all the more suspect. The story, which ties terrorism, religion and corporate commodity-culture into a whirligig of sub-sitcom gags and jerky plotting, is such a slapdash string of easy-target outrageousness that even the cheap shock value wears thin fast. The film's social critique has the feel of someone who has spent the last eight years playing video games suddenly looking up and realizing things have gone to hell in a handbasket. OMG, like, duh.

Boll's rampant narcissistic showmanship creates such a bizarre, garish spectacle that it is almost tempting to give him credit for being something of a misunderstood artist after all. Almost, but not quite. "Postal" is largely just a byproduct of Boll's self-promotion, rendering the film itself, in essence, beside the point.

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"Postal." MPAA rating: R for extremely crude humor, including strong sexuality, graphic nudity and violence, for language and some drug use. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. In limited release.

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