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Cloning comedy 'Andover' clumsily attempts to replicate love

Cloning comedy 'Andover' clumsily attempts to replicate love
Jonathan Silverman and Jennifer Finnigan in the movie "Andover." (Gravitas Ventures)

Just because a movie begins with a marriage proposal made over a toilet doesn't guarantee it'll be a rollicking ride. So it is with "Andover," an ill-conceived "sci-fi comedy" whose stab at funny begins and ends on said commode. Otherwise, it's a sluggish and morose look at grief, obsession and super-fishy ethics.

A workable tone eludes writer-director Scott Perlman as he spins the eccentric tale of Adam (Jonathan Silverman), a genetics professor and cloning researcher at fictional Andover University, and his glassblower wife, Dawn (Silverman's real-life spouse, Jennifer Finnigan), whose newly wedded bliss shatters when Dawn is killed in a fiery accident. But, y'know, never say die.

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Adam, unable to live without Dawn, decides to clone his beloved back into existence, with the reluctant help of his besotted lab assistant, Emma (Scout Taylor-Compton). There's a steep learning curve, however, involving premature aging and an unexpected battle between nature and nurture.

It takes a series of deeply questionable and frankly creepy replication efforts — and cavalier cadaver disposals — as well as repeated re-enactments of Dawn's key life events (her parents, played by Beth Grant and Richard Kind, factor in) to reproduce a recognizable Dawn for Adam to love again.

But this choppy film, which is saddled with a subplot about a dogged insurance agent (Richard Portnow), becomes more mechanical than emotional, leapfrogging time, logic and process as it scrambles to its too clever-by-half conclusion.

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‘Andover’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Playing: AMC Sunset 5, West Hollywood

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