"Jesus Henry Christ" Manages Quirk, Not Big Laughs
Egg, meet sperm. Sperm, my mother." And so it is that 10-year-old Henry James Herman (Jason Spevack) introduces his mother, Patricia (Toni Collette), to Slavkin (Michael Sheen), the college professor whose sperm-bank donation helped create Henry. With the second-highest IQ score in recorded history, Henry is a certified genius whose "Manifesto on the Nature of Truth" — there's no Santa, no devil, and no God — causes a Catholic-school riot and gets him kicked out for "heresy." Writer/director Dennis Lee (Fireflies in the Garden) works hard to generate big laughs but succeeds best with offhand jokes. He introduces Slavkin's people-hating teenaged daughter, Audrey (Samantha Weinstein), by having her scream, piercingly, for a really long time. It's sorta funny but mostly off-putting. Making their screen debuts, young Spevack and Weinstein give the film's most natural performances and provide its little bit of warmth, but it seems time for Collette to take a hiatus from playing bitter single moms.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.