Picks and Pans Review: The Proposition

updated 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Kenneth Branagh, Madeleine Stowe

If A Price Above Rubies is soap opera wearing a yarmulke, The Proposition is melodramatic hogwash served atop a communion wafer. Branagh plays a Catholic priest in the 1930s who becomes entangled with a rich couple (William Hurt and Stowe), members of his Boston parish. This duo are much in love, but Hurt is sterile, so the two hire a law student (Neil Patrick Harris, who is totally geeky) to impregnate Stowe. The too-willing kid soon winds up dead. Did Hurt have him killed? Trust me, you won't care. Stowe and Hurt are far better than the material, while Branagh just seems to be praying he was elsewhere. (R)

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