"Love with the Safety off"
There is a confusing mythology behind The Mexican, a hand crafted pistol coveted throughout this mindless, at times pointless, but over-all enjoyable motion picture starring big-time players, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. Although the two stars are considered to be co-starring in this violent, unromantic, quasi-comedy, we do not actually get Brad and Julia together for too long and when they are together you don’t smell anything burning. I must admit however, that their bickering will ring true for anyone in a meaningful relationship and it’ll make you smile nervously, especially if you are with that special someone. For a majority of the two hours ,we watch the pair involved in separate locals and, in my opinion, separate movies. It seems the filmmakers were confused as to the mythology of their film.
I’ll start with the bad movie starring Julia Roberts in Las Vegas. The movie is called: Me and My Gun-Toting Teddy Bear or, for the foreign release – and not to be offensive but for other, soon to be elaborated upon reasons – A Fairy Tale.
The movie begins inside a mall where Julia sips a Tab as a carousel goes round nearby. Two dangerous men stalk her like wildcats and after a brutal encounter in the ladies room, one man, played by James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), emerges with a blood spattered Julia by the hand. At that precise moment, this movie goes wrong and it is no wonder that Gandolfini has tried to remove himself from publicizing this movie. In a movie like this, which I realize is intentionally warped; there still need to be a remotely credible basis upon which to connect to the audience. In Mr. Verbinski’s earlier terrific work, Mouse Hunt, the concept was fantasy; so therefore, realism was appropriately tossed aside for chaotic fun, but here that can’t be done without losing our sympathies.
Why no one assists Julia as she is dragged from the mall screaming and thrown into a car is preposterous. Gandolfini’s self-proclaimed "regulator of funkiness" may be great at his job, but he is certainly not invisible. Just when you think nothing can be more unbelievable than the get away, the movie continues to roll rapidly down the dock until it finally goes off the deep end.
At first, we scratch our heads wondering why a cold-blooded killer asks so many personal questions of his captive regarding her romantic relationships. I mean, isn’t it a staple of the hit man profession to never get involved on any level with the mark. So why is this tough guy spewing clichés like, "You love him….it’s all that matters"? Well, the answer this movie serves up with a straight face is that Gandolfini’s character is gay. Not just gay, but "full throttle" gay. Julia and James have so much to giggle about that the audience will have allot to be nauseated about. I guess if we all bought into Julia as the hooker with the heart of gol, then we can accept Gandolfini as the murderer with the sensitive, fuzzy soul.
The other movie takes place in Mexico, stars Brad Pitt, and can still be called The Mexican. The Mexican is a quirky movie, engrossing, and fun. Brad, a free spirited, doofy, but likable guy takes us on a madcap tour of Mexico’s desolate and dangerous villages in search of the accursed gun.
It’s true that Brad has some limited comedic capabilities, but he does a better job finding humor in serious situations than when laughs are his goal. Note to Mr. Pitt: Arm waiving and spastic flailing has not been funny since Farley died. The Mexican coasts along throwing at us double-agent/double-crossings intrigue, witty one-liners, and some evocative scenery. Finally when Brad and Julia meet up again there is a cheesy airport "surprise reconciliation of the worst Hollywood kind.
In Three Sentences or Less….
If you see the movie because you love Julia Roberts or because you like Brad Pitt then you won’t regret it. If you like or love The Sopranos then you should watch The Sopranos.