IN SELF/LESS, a dying New Yawk tycoon played by Ben Kingsley transfers his consciousness (but not his accent, strangely) into a vessel played by handsome Ryan Reynolds (it must be weird, everyone constantly wanting to switch bodies with you). The process, called "shedding," is done by a mysterious company and overseen by a handsome, unctuous Englishman, which is never a good sign. If you ever opt for an experimental procedure and the doctor turns out to be English, just get out of there. He probably has evil plans.
Just when Kingsley (as Reynolds) is starting to enjoy his hot new bod, bedding babes and b-balling with black dudes like a man half his age, wouldn't you know it, there are complications. Turns out, the Reynolds vessel wasn't actually grown in a lab as advertised. HE WAS A REAL MAN!
The compelling question posed here is, what do you do when you find out your second chance at life comes at the expense of someone else's? Do you try to give it back, or learn to live with the guilt while using your new abs to score strange?
Both options are somewhat intriguing, but if you're Self/less, you choose option C: mash all the buttons together. Kingsley/Reynolds (better title, FYI) just sort of goes berserk and starts shooting everyone for some reason, all while using some half-remembered military killing skills, because hey, that worked in Bourne, right? And so what could've been a new(ish) twist on John Frankenheimer's paranoid classic Seconds turns into Freaky Friday with handguns. All the questions posed by the premise go out the window as you wonder, "Hey, why is Ryan Reynolds trying to kill that guy?"
"Dunno, man. Guess 'cause he was all smug and British."
It's disappointing when a movie raises interesting questions about existence and the plot ends up hinging on hoary daddy issues. From now on, whenever some rich father shows up to his estranged daughter's nonprofit to make amends in the first act, and she immediately screams something like "You think you can just waltz in here and buy me off like everyone else?!" I'm leaving. Nothing good ever comes after that.