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‘Playing God’ review: Alan Tudyk highlights grifter comedy

Waiting for God – oh.

Playing God takes the con artist movie to the next plane – literally. The movie is about fraternal twins Rachel (Hannah Kasulka) and Micah (Luke Benward), a pair of con artists that come up with a clever ruse after falling in debt to a criminal. They are going to convince a billionaire named Ben (Alan Tudyk) they can get him a one on one with God. 

Just because an idea is a cool does not mean it is a good. The premise confronts problems almost immediately. People with more money than the GNP of countries tend to do crazy things. The idea of a tech billionaire being tricked into believing a meeting with God is right around the corner is a hard sell even in the outrageous tales of grifter fiction. 

Therein lies the main issue with Playing God. In order for a movie about con artist to work, the scam they are planning on has to be believable. Much like a heist story, if the audience does not ask, “can that really work?” then the story has failed to reel in the marks. And if they are not there, then what is the whole production for?

Writer and director Scott Brignac is able to navigate this precarious line, but it is never a sure thing. Playing God has all the expected moments, the wise mentor (Michael McKean) and some neat con artist tricks while also adding ruminations on religion. It is iffy even in its best moments, but the plot is able to keep people watching. 

What puts Playing God over the top are the performances. The people orchestrating the act are usually the glue to these types of movies. Benward and Kasulka do a fine job in their roles, but the real stand out is Tudyk. Along with displaying a gamut of emotions that run from grief to anger, the audience has to believe that Ben actually believes he is going to speak with the Almighty. Tudyk succeeds in getting the audience to believe that, and from there, it is easy to believe in the movie.

Playing God comes to theaters and VOD August 6

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