Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2003. Revolution Studios, City Light Films, Casey Silver Productions. Screenplay by Martin Brest. Cinematography by Robert Elswit. Produced by Martin Brest, Casey Silver. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Gary Frutkoff. Costume Design by Michael Kaplan. Film Editing by Julie Monroe, Billy Weber.
Ben Affleck plays a gangster who is assigned to watch over a mentally challenged young man (Justin Bartha) whose Federal attorney brother is causing trouble for Affleck’s East Coast boss (Al Pacino). Jennifer Lopez shows up at his door and announces that she is another contract killer who has been hired to co-supervise the hostage in order to make sure that neither of them screw up; she’s also drop dead gorgeous, so you can imagine Ben’s disappointment when she turns out to prefer the company of women. It’s a charming premise for an action-comedy in the Elmore Leonard vein, and Lopez is graceful and charming, once again giving a terrific performance in an awful movie (see Maid In Manhattan for more of the same), while Affleck can never sell the meat head routine. Brest has recently made a habit of dry, boring, overly long films that seem to care not one whit for the audience who will be watching them; Gigli in particular veers into torture-method territory. Most of the dialogue is downright embarrassing, especially when the leads try to get sexy, and the actors who do manage to give the film some energy or heart are stuck in degrading surroundings. Bartha is touching as the young hostage, but his performance deserves to be in a better film, and Pacino’s cameo is a hilarious joke that unfortunately comes too late in the story. Christopher Walken‘s cameo, on the other hand, is obscure and for the most part makes absolutely no sense. For those fearing the political incorrectness of Lopez hopping the gay fence and sleeping with a man, don’t worry, the fact that they have zero chemistry between them is a far bigger obstacle than the fact that her character is a lesbian. The fact that the film would be dreadful with any other actors in the lead, however, is a good reason to go a little easy on the overly exposed movie stars and point the irate finger at the lack of talent going on behind the camera.