Marvelous was something of a mystery movie in that I was able to dig up only one review online—in Variety—so I went into it almost totally blind.

It’s a comedy about a woman (Martha Plimpton) who has a supernatural ability to get broken mechanical objects (cars, appliances, etc.) to work just by being in their presence. People convince themselves she can also heal supernaturally, and a sort of cult forms around her.

Her main “team” is her sister (who eventually steps out of the background by pretending to be able to communicate with the dead), her sister’s husband, and her sister’s husband’s friend, who she’s just met and is maybe starting a relationship with. But then various other handlers and marketers and financial backers and who knows what get involved as well.

It all gets out of control, and the central four mostly bicker amongst themselves and act like jerks who are totally unaccustomed to money and fame and such.

Some of it is clever, it mostly seems well acted (not that I’ve seen her in a lot over the years, but I seem to always like Martha Plimpton), and the dialogue is crisp, but really I only cared minimally about the characters and the story.

It’s not the kind of comedy with a lot of dumb stuff and appeal-to-the-lowest-common-denominator cheap laughs—which is good—but at the same time I never got more than an occasional chuckle out of it, so it’s not like it’s really funny in a good way either.

Needless to say, it’s not realistic. Not just in terms of her having supernatural powers—you have to be willing to suspend disbelief to some extent in almost any comedy—but also in the implication that for her entire life up till this point, she and her family had pretty much agreed she’d not exercise her powers and not reveal them to people. But if you really could do the things she can do, why would you never use the powers? They make it like it’s Darren forbidding Samantha to use witchcraft so they can have a normal life, but it made no sense on Bewitched either.

I would think comedy is even more a matter of personal taste than other genres, so I can just give my reaction, but this didn’t do much for me. Like I say, it has some decent performances, and it’s mildly amusing and/or interesting here and there, but it never won me over.

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