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Review: Monster-baby horror-comedy ‘Cynthia’ has few worthwhile moments

Scout Taylor-Compton in the film "Cynthia."
(Indican Pictures)

The horror-comedy “Cynthia” puts a cartoonish spin on the “monster baby” sub-genre, kind of like the 1974 classic “It’s Alive,” but with slapstick instead of squirmy suspense and social commentary. Screenwriter Robert Rhine and co-directors Devon Downs and Kenny Gage have made something polished, colorful and energetic but, ultimately, pretty disposable.

Scout Taylor-Compton stars as Robin, a well-to-do suburbanite whose marriage to self-absorbed corporate executive Michael (Kyle Jones) has been on the rocks as they’ve struggled to conceive a child. The relationship doesn’t improve when Robin finally gets pregnant, only to find that her baby has a “twin” — a mysterious lump that the doctors assume is a benign cyst but is actually a snarling, homicidal creature.

“Cynthia” has some entertainment value whenever the beast attacks. The filmmakers construct those scenes well, maximizing the grotesquerie — whether the baby-thing is impaling a doctor and a nurse having surreptitious sex, or she’s pushing a hippy-dippy nanny down the stairs.

But much of the rest of the “comedy” in “Cynthia” is awfully bland, riffing on the shallow materialism of the upper-middle-class. A mid-movie twist involving Michael’s secret life is especially corny.

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The picture does build to a properly crazed crescendo, showcasing an impressively disgusting monster. Overall, though, there’s maybe 20 minutes of worthwhile material in “Cynthia” — and even that offers little that “It’s Alive” and “Basket Case” didn’t do better.

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‘Cynthia’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

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Playing: Starts Aug. 31, Laemmle Glendale


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