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Some terrible, terrible things have been done in the name of science. Dr Frankenstein sought to banish Death and unleashed a lumbering, flat-headed monster. Jeff Goldblum tried revolutionising planetary travel and ended up a pink, pukey pulp. And Michael J Fox's time-puncturing DeLorean antics wiped out several entire realities.

But all of this God-playing tinkery pales into insignificance when compared with the terror of cloning. Why? Because cloning's - - ooooh - - topical. At least that's what Brit director Nick "The Hole" Hamm and scripter Mark Bomback must have been thinking when they mixed up the stinky brew that is Godsend. To be fair, the whole `Should we? Shouldn't we?' issue of human cloning does make for interesting debate, and potentially engaging drama. But they've wasted it on a limp, enemy-within thriller centred on a Damien-lite clone-kid called - - obvious name alert! - - Adam (Bright).

So don't expect any thought-provoking drama or nerve-jangling, syringe-twinge subtleties here. Godsend is a flurry of mindless, half-hearted hammer blows, relying on jagged dream sequences, volume-flipping orchestral blasts and `shock' reveals for most of its jolts. It also trusts that you'll find the anodyne Bright inherently chilling.

In fact, it's unlikely you'll find anything chilling about Godsend. Or convincing. After all, this is the kind of film in which a parent's grief is conveyed through five-o'clock shadows, and which allows its mad professor (Robert `wasn't he good once?' De Niro) such an overused prop as a pair of chimey Chinese worry balls.

De Niro's presence and lacklustre performance would be inexplicable if his recent resumé wasn't already stunk up by the likes of Rocky And Bullwinkle, Showtime and Analyze That. So it falls to Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Greg Kinnear to struggle valiantly with their ill-sketched mom 'n' pop characters. It's a futile battle. With material like this, Kinnear and Romijn-Stamos might as well be trying to milk a chicken. Actually, maybe they should - - it would have been more entertaining, that's for sure. Someone call Hollywood!

An intriguing science-faction set-up fluffed into a second-rate, evil-kiddie thriller. Godsend has one thing in its favour: it's easily forgettable.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.