Neveldine and Taylor are the writing and directing team behind the Crank franchise. They are brilliant. They could hang it up right now and be assured of their legacy. But great minds cannot be caged, so they continue to create. They wrote Pathology in between Crank‘s and while it lacks their fast and loose directing and cinematography, it fits snugly within their body of work.
Pathology follows Ted (Milo Ventimiglia), top of his medical class at Harvard(probably in the same graduating class as Silas and Jamal!) and now a resident at a Washington D.C. hospital. He meets a crew of brash pathology residents who suffer from a combination of god complex and plain old crazy. How crazy? One of their less shocking antics is reenacting the Katz’s Deli scene from When Harry Met Sally with cadavers. You know, med school. The other crazy thing they get up to is killing people and then having the rest of their group guess how they did the killing. Which is kinda neat. I could see how you could get caught up in that. Well, no, I can’t. But Ted falls in with this completely insane group of people because OH THE POWER A DOCTOR WIELDS, IT CAN WARP YOUR MIND! Also, the redhead in their group is Ready To Go, if you pick up what I’m putting down(if she isn’t eye-fucking you, then she’s fucking you). The film stumbles on this one aspect, for while the redhead is indeed fetching, Ted is engaged to the very rich Gwen. It’s indicated at one point that he can’t be honest with Gwen and is only marrying her because her family is loaded. Fair enough, the guy joined a murder club, what’s one more prick move on his part, right? But Gwen is played by Alyssa Milano, who is very hot. If she were dirt poor, men would be lining up to make her rich. A super rich Alyssa Milano? Don’t tease me, movie. I will admit that the redhead(Lauren Lee Smith) has to hit quite few different levels of crazy, sad, and naked fucking while Milano mostly just looks concerned or sleepy, so they cast for skill. Also, Milano’s character has sex with her bra on. I know. The redhead indulges in some lipstick lesbianism and has some acupuncture sex, amongst other things I’ll get to.
Pathology is a sneakier effort from Neveldine and Taylor. It slowly moves for the first half hour or so and then BOOM, insane sex/autopsy montage. Open chest cavities to go with exposed chests and asses. Pathologists smoking crack(This was my favorite)! It’s hilariously over the top, especially when Ted and the redhead kill a man, and then immediately fuck on the floor. Nothing gets the ladies hot and bothered like killing Durant. Milo Ventimiglia gives a performance at the intersection of Keanu and Stallone. He tends to be stone faced whether he’s having a friendly beer or having sex on an morgue slab. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I haven’t done the latter, so perhaps the two situations are surprisingly similar. At one point he has to express fear, guilt and regret, which involved plenty of huffing, sighing, gritted teeth and literal hand wringing. The villain of the piece, Jake Gallo (Michael Weston) has the right kind of creepy to him, and he pretty much owns every scene he’s in. His drunk act at a cocktail party is perfectly awkward, topped off by smashing a tray of champagne flutes off a waiter’s tray, catching one, attempting to drink out of it, finding it empty, and appearing even more pissed, now at himself. I clapped. Pathology did have one scene that felt completely true to life. The redhead surprises Ted in the lobby of his apartment building and attempts to blow him. In the lobby. Ted takes a moment, notices that he is in full view of cars and pedestrians passing the doorway of his building and says, “No go.” He’ll have sex with you in front of a dead body, but there are some things a man just won’t do. Justin knows what I’m talking about.
The big finale is actually three parts, which I won’t spoil here. I will mention that the economy of characters is something that people should always remember and that nods to Mission Impossible 2, intentional or otherwise, are always welcome in this house.
While not a Crank level success, Pathology succeeds as a sleazy thriller. A little more humor never hurt anybody, but I was never bored(did I mention the hooker grandma? No? There is a hooker grandma), and by the time you get to the film’s final moments, Ted’s stoic demeanor becomes morbidly humorous. Pathology also fits well with the Neveldine/Taylor template of loathsome protagonist who must fight even more loathsome antagonists. College.