ER meets Oedipus Rex -- 2 stars

Directed by Joby Harold. November 2007, USA. Rated R: 84 min.

(Originally published in buzz magazine on 12/1/2007)

Life ought to be peachy for Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen). Born into his position as a major Manhattan business magnate, Clay has millions of dollars in his checking account and a ravishing fiancé, Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba), on whom to spend them. Despite his charm and wealth, Clay’s friends are few; the most loyal being his overprotective mother and Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), the man who cared for Clay during a heart attack. Unfortunately for Clay, an even larger problem threatens to end his life: he needs an O negative heart transplant to live. His mother begs him to see the city’s finest surgical expert, but he refuses because he trusts Dr. Harper. Little does Clay know, the general anesthesia will fail, and he will be effectively paralyzed — forced to lie still as doctors slice his chest open and pluck his heart out.

That’s just the beginning. Once the gruesomeness of heart surgery subsides, the audience reaction goes from “OMG” to “WTF” to “LOL” in a matter of minutes. Perhaps more compelling than the concept of Clay’s "anesthetic awareness" is the intimate relationship he has with his mother, which verges on incest. Her jealousy of Clay’s love for Sam, their constant petty arguments, and the tender way they gaze at each other mark them more as wife and husband than mother and son. In the absence of his deceased father, Clay takes over more than just the family business; he seems to fill the vacuum in his mother’s love life. Talk about an Oedipus complex!