GUY X (Saul Metzstein). 94 minutes. Opens Friday (January 20). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
The set-up looks promising: a naive young corporal ( Jason Biggs ) is dropped off at the wrong base with the wrong identity papers, but no one will admit it. This is Catch-22 territory, or Robert Altman's M*A*S*H, where black humour relieves the hell of war.
The colonel's a wacko, the base is filled with eccentrics, and there's a hottie sergeant ( Natascha McElhone ) eyeing our hero. But it's all tame stuff because there's no hell here, just pointless idleness in the middle of nowhere in Greenland.
This leaves Biggs (American Pie) and McElhone (Ladies In Lavender) to carry the can for the first hour. They're pleasant enough but can't rise above the material, and director Saul Metzstein doesn't help much. He makes good use of the bleak landscape, but his interiors look a lot like TV, and he brings no life to his party scenes.
Things pick up once Biggs's character discovers the base's dark secret, but that revelation lacks bite and sense; we're never really clear why this very small-scale cover-up is necessary, or whether it's designed to protect the army's ass or merely the colonel's. Not that it matters a lot, because it doesn't much illuminate what's gone before, or justify the wild-blue-yonder climax.