Wild Target
dir Jonathan Lynn
scr Lucinda Coxon
prd Martin Pope, Michael Rose
with Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman, Geoff Bell, Gregor Fisher, James O'Donnell, Graham Seed, Adrian Schiller, Philip Battley
release UK 18.Jun.10
10/UK CinemaNX 1h38
Wild Target
Don't panic: Grint and Nighy

blunt everett atkins
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Wild Target This lively British remake of the 1993 French film is an enjoyable if ultimately too-silly romp. But the solid cast at least makes it watchable, even when the plot takes a series of deeply contrived turns.

Victor (Nighy) is an efficient hitman who lives a quiet life that's more than a little obsessive-compulsive. He's been in the business since he was a child, inheriting the job from his late father, and now his mother (Atkins) is pushing him to have a son of his own. His next job is for an art dealer (Everett) who has been double-crossed by con artist Rose (Blunt), but Victor is taken by her breezily shameless methods. He's also interrupted by Tony (Grint), a rootless young guy who shows some skill with a gun.

The idea is excellent, with this pinched man being forced to lighten up while perhaps finding the solution to his own problems. But as this unlikely trio is chased by a hapless goon (Fisher), a rival hitman (Freeman) and his henchman (Bell), things get goofy beyond all sense of reason. And any interesting themes are abandoned for farcical shtick rather than smart comedy or telling interaction.

Nighy veers ever-so-slightly away from his usual type for this role and holds the film together effortlessly, while Blunt and Grint provide solid comical performances alongside him. All three are charming and cute, with hints of a romance that never develops beyond the requirements of the script. On the other hand, Atkins and Freeman (and most of the supporting cast) are stuck in comedy sketch roles.

There are some nice comical touches along the way, mainly in character details that bring out a knowing smile rather than a laugh. And a few scenes manage to achieve a level of slapstick fun. But this is all undermined by the terribly contrived script, which revolves around a lot of gun-waving in very public places (not something that happens in Britain), plus two or three too many strained coincidences that are written into the script to keep the plot moving forward. A more steady tone and a blackly comical edge might have made this a minor gem.

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 3.Jun.10

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