The Mexican
Together at last. After about 90 minutes apart, Julia and Brad finally share some on-screen time...
dir Gore Verbinki
scr JH Wyman
with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, JK Simmons, Bob Balaban, Sherman Augustus, Michael Cerveris, Richard Coca, Castulo Guerra, Daniel Escobar, David Krumholtz, Gene Hackman
release US 2.Mar.01; UK 27.Apr.01
Dreamworks 01/US 2h03
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
love with the safety offDeeply misconceived from the get-go, The Mexican just about survives on the talent of its cast. But the weaknesses and strains in the storyline leave the audience wanting something the film never offers. In their first on-screen pairing, Brad and Julia play Jerry and Samantha, a couple struggling under the weight of Jerry's job (he's a kind of indentured servant to the mob) and Sam's pop-psychology approach to their relationship, which finally erupts when Jerry announces that he has to do one more "last" job to fulfil his obligation to his boss (Balaban). So off they go in their separate directions: Jerry to Mexico to retrieve a historic pistol called "The Mexican", and Sam to Vegas to start her new life. But even though everything goes smoothly for him at first, Jerry soon finds himself in all sorts of trouble. And then a hoodlum (Gandolfini) kidnaps Sam to ensure the pistol's safe delivery.

Sounds like a rather enjoyable action romp, but the film never decides what angle to take. It's all over the place--ricocheting from violent crime thriller to bickering romance to sensitive drama to clowning shtick. Just when we start to get the feel for a scene (never mind the overall film), the tone shifts yet again, leaving us out in the cold. None of it is remotely satisfying. That said, the cast is very good. Roberts actually does some interesting things with her character; Pitt settles for the dopey nice guy routine. But the duo share very little screen time even though they're great together. And the film is completely hijacked by Gandolfini (The Sopranos) with by far the most interesting character ... and the most clever performance. Verbinski at least keeps the energy level high, and injects enough visual wackiness to keep us slightly off balance. Watchable, but nothing more.
themes, language, violence cert 15 29.Mar.01

love with the safety off R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

"I believe the reason this movie's a box office success is due to the big-name draw, which may be good for a couple weeks, but I gotta say the funniest parts are in the previews, with a lot of fill-in in between laughs. send your review to Shadows... Brad plays this harmless, funny guy, whose girl wants more commitment from him - gee, what girl doesn't? - and they are even going to couple counseling/group sessions to help their relationship.This is good for a couple laughs, and Brad's bumbling into trouble is good for a couple more. But I thought the movie was too long between laughs, did not really like much about the plot line and, okay, we got to see Brad and Julia together playing a couple trying to get their act together, but I came out of this movie thinking the ones who made this movie needed to get their act together. Rent it when it comes out on video, but I really did not think this was that great of a movie." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 16.Mar.01

2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall