There's a veil of artifice clinging to every aspect of "The Lovers," a thoroughly unconvincing time-traveling epic costume drama pairing a miscast Josh Hartnett and Bollywood beauty Bipasha Basu.
Crisscrossing awkwardly between two eras and areas, the film also presents a pair of Hartnetts — the first, a contemporary marine archaeologist who is rendered brain dead following an injury sustained while rescuing his wife (Tamsin Egerton), trapped by wreckage while diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
While in his comatose state, Hartnett is transported to colonial India circa 1778, where he has assumed the identity of a British army officer protecting the interests of the East India Co. and subsequently he takes a personal interest in an exotic female warrior and prophetess (Basu).
It's not surprising that this silly mishmash of period romantic adventure and quantum physics blends about as effectively as Hartnett (sporting a skittish Scottish accent) and Basu, whose preordained romance generates all the heat and fire of a monsoonal downpour.
What is surprising is the fact that this nonsense, shot in 2012 under the title "Singularity," was written and directed by Roland Joffe, who, once upon a time, was responsible for the grittily realistic best-picture Oscar nominee known as "The Killing Fields."
Talk about a different time and place.
MPAA rating: R for violence, language.
Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes.