Directed by Saul Metzstein, starring Jason Biggs, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Northam, Michael Ironside and Sean Tucker.
'Guy X', which is based on John Griesemer's admired debut novel 'No One Thinks of Greenland', is further proof that acclaimed editions of the written word should not always be transferred to the silver screen.
Rudy Spruance (Biggs) is a troubled young US Army corporal who is supposed to be transferred to beautiful Hawaii, but is instead dumped out of a military plane in the harsh surrounds of Greenland.
After a painful encounter with a swarm of mosquitoes, he wakes up in a hospital bed at the remote Qangattarsa military base. When he comes 'round he discovers that due to a clerical error he doesn't actually exist and is expected to produce a morale-boosting newspaper for the troops. This propaganda machine is the brainchild of commanding officer Lane Woolwrap (Northam).
Rudy resists at first, but eventually adjusts to his new existence. He turns his attentions to Woolwraps' secretary-cum-girlfriend, Sergeant Irene Teal (McElhone). All then goes well until the main protagonist stumbles upon the dirty secret of the outpost.
The first mistake was made with the casting of Biggs. A starring role in the 'American Pie' trilogy, along with his appearance in 'Loser', propelled the New Jersey lad to prominence. However, his emergence also probably pigeonholed him into the teen nerd category.
Now aged 27, he is obviously trying to gain experience with mature characters. Alas, he fails miserably here - and not just for the fact that his mop of curly hair would not have gone unnoticed, or unshaved, in the US forces.
His relationship with the more mature McElhone doesn't ring true. Likewise, Woolwrap doesn't come across as a convincing lover either. While not quite beauty and the beasts, you are left with the impression that Teal isn't the type to indulge in toy boy antics or partake of a bit of rough.
An over-the-top ending is vastly more melodramatic than what goes before, leaving it to stick out like a sore thumb. It might have worked had we been given any reason to maintain an interest in any of the characters.
The one highlight is the film's location. Shot in Iceland, the landscape and elements are as complex and compelling as the plot is not.
By all accounts the novel, which takes place in the Korean War era, is a fine read. Some have found that despite moving forward to late Cold War 1979, this adaptation has managed to follow in the footsteps of 'Catch-22' and 'M*A*S*H'. However, there is no way it measures up to either movie. It is not nearly as dark or funny as they were and it certainly does not provide any new lessons or messages on the subject of war.
Miscasting, allied to a mundane story and a lack of direction and humour, serve to ensure no one will ever think of this movie again. Well, not many anyway.