Look, I like magical realism as much as the next gal, but Henry Poole Is Here is not a stellar example of the genre (for that, rent Lawn Dogs). Sure, technically, the film satisfies the tenets of magical realism—there's some folklore, there's some mucking around with the timeline—but these tricks aren't enough to disguise the pedantic Jesus message "hidden" beneath the surface of a very boring movie.

The plot centers on sad sack Henry Poole (played by Luke Wilson, doing yet another spot-on impersonation of himself), who's been diagnosed with some mysterious terminal disease and moves back to the California suburbia of his adolescence. There, he proceeds to consume mass quantities of Krispy Kremes, pizza, and whiskey (delicious!) while waiting for death to come a-knocking. But instead, his nosy Latina neighbor Esperanza (whose name, not so subtly, means "hope," and who is played by Adriana Barraza) brings Henry a plate of welcome-to-the-neighborhood tamales (again, delicious!). Then Esperanza snoopily invades Henry's backyard, where she finds the bleeding Face of God embedded in Henry's stucco wall.

Esperanza's discovery of a milagro (miracle) quickly spreads through the community, and soon Henry's muralla (wall) becomes a destination for peregrinos (pilgrims), and by the end of the film, I was so fed up with Esperanza's constant use of Spanish to convey the fucking milagro of the Jesus muralla. It's neither charming nor colloquial—instead, it just feels seriously culturally insensitive, in like a "Mexicans are so simple and trusting! Like children! They just want to believe in anything!" sort of way.

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone (the screenplay takes care of that on its own), but I can tell you that in the end, Henry Poole comes to understand the power of esperanza (GAH!) and looks at the world in a whole new luz (light, GRRR), and all of this happens in no fewer than 100 minutos, which is about 100 minutos too many, if you ask me.