Perhaps a better title for The Da Vinci Code might be Much Ado About Nothing. When you boil away the hype and hysteria, all that remains is a pedestrian murder mystery that isn't sufficiently challenging or scandalous to raise anyone's hackles. It's preposterous, overlong, and saddled with a sloppy denouement that defines the term "anti-climax." The film's two big "surprises" are telegraphed early, and the ease with which they can be guessed (using the "conservation of characters" process) leeches the movie of a large measure of its suspense. Individual scenes are entertaining in their own right, but the production as a whole is a lumbering mess.

James Berardinelli
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