Double Whammy
1 out of 5 stars
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After premiering at Sundance in January 2001, this uneven black comedy went straight to video in the States, but it's getting a cinema release in Britain for some reason. It's about New York Detective Ray Pluto (Leary), who's having a very bad day indeed, when his back goes out just as a mad gunman opens fire in a fast food joint. Humiliated on the force, he then falls for his chiropractor (Hurley) and tries to regain some dignity by helping his building's super (Guzman), who's having serious trouble relating to his rebellious teen daughter (Diaz). Meanwhile, a pair of wannabe-player neighbours (Faison and Nobbs) are trying to write a Tarantino-esque screenplay. And a pair of brutal thugs (Compte and Sanchez) are looking for Juan.

You know you're in trouble when a comedy opens with a massacre. And the film never quite recovers. It's an awkward mix of violence, romance and goofy comedy that never gels at all. Even when the story strands start to intersect. And even with the help of the above-average cast, which includes Buscemi as Ray's partner and Noth as his competition for a big promotion. There is some funny dialog here and there, as well as some inspired moments of comic silliness and even a bit of romantic chemistry, but overall trying to find laughs in personal tragedy isn't a good idea! Strangely, there is a germ of a great idea in here about healing past wounds, but DiCillo seems distracted by the zaniness, which is never dark enough to work with the violence in the plot. As a result it all feels superficial and vaguely endearing, but nothing more.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 8.May.03

dir-scr Tom DiCillo
with Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley, Steve Buscemi, Luis Guzman, Melonie Diaz, Chris Noth, Donald Faison, Keith Nobbs, Maurice Compte, Otto Sanchez, Victor Argo, Kevin Olson
release UK 18.Jul.03
01/US 1h30

Love on the rocks. Cute ... but there ain't no big surprise (Leary and Hurley)

leary hurley buscemi
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... double whammy Ze Barreto, Lisboa, Portugal: 5/5 "This is a great black comedy for people with enough intelligence and sense of irony." (3.Jan.06)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall