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The Mexican (2001)
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Review Date: February 28, 2001
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: J.H Whyman
Producers: Lawrence Bender & John Baldecchi
Actors:
Brad Pitt as Jerry Welbach
Julia Roberts as Samantha Barzel
James Gandolfini as Leroy
Plot:
A bumbling criminal has to do "one more job" before he can kiss his life in the Bad Guys Corp. goodbye. When he tells his girlfriend about his unenviable position (do or die), she tells him to take a hike, and he must then complete his mission in Mexico alone. Unfortunately, he goofs up a lot so the bad guys kidnap his now ex-girlfriend, to put more pressure on our boy to perform. Got all that?
Critique:
A so-so movie that could've been a lot better if they hadn't taken such a good thing and beaten it to death. First of all, how bad can any movie starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts be, right? I mean, c'mon...seriously! I could watch these two planting seeds for two hours and still come out with a pretty decent-sized smile on my face. But I suppose that has more to do with their inherent good looks and zesty personalities than anything else, so obsessions aside, let me get back to the story. To be honest, I was actually quite surprised by this movie, since the trailers have been making it look like a very light, fluffy romantic comedy starring the two sweethearts of Hollywood, but the reality of the film is actually quite grimmer. In fact, the movie's stocked with profanities, contains scenes of violence and offers plenty of frank conversations about that little thing called "love", from both the hetero and homo perspectives. Basically...my kind of movie!! Hehehe. Unfortunately for the audience, the film just doesn't know when to let up and just goes on and on and on. I honestly thought that it was over two and a half hours long, but it was really only two bucks or so, I believe. What that tells me is that the film sorta "lost me" at some point around the midway mark, and even though the movie still managed to get some laughs from me here and there, it ultimately just ran out of gas (no pun intended).

In fact, the first half of the film comes out a-blazin' with a very nifty soundtrack, an infectious score, plenty of laughs via Pitt's adventures in the land of Me-hico, and some decent tete-a-tetes between Roberts and Pittski. And yeah, the directing was also top-notch. But once they split, the two stories seemed to take different emotional routes and kept me somewhat off-guard. In fact, I wasn't all that interested in the Roberts end of the story as much as Pitt's end for the most part, and didn't particularly see reason to get so much into Gandolfini's background either (we find out more about him than the two leads together!). It was as if they didn't want him to simply play this "thug" again, and they tried to develop his character somewhat, but it was all too much, for this type of movie. I would've preferred that the film stuck to its original fast-pace, hardy chuckles and fun-time chemistry. But the length of the movie and the second half's more "serious" tone, ultimately left me entertained, but not as much as I anticipated early on (one specific somber event felt particularly out of place). In fact, note to all filmmakers who decide to slap two very hot, pretty stars together for another movie in the future...uhmm, give them more scenes together, dammit!! That's what I'm paying my umpteen pesos for, buddy, I want to see Julia and Brad interact!! Granted, the story also has to be very good, but if you've got the stars to sign on the line that is dotted, why not use them in more scenes together? Just a thought.

In fact, since the film only superficially touches upon their relationship early on, you don't really feel all that much for the couple as they try to get back together throughout the movie. But all in all, the film did still manage to entertain me with its general fun vibe, its charismatic stars, its somewhat diverting story and upbeat soundtrack. Not a mucho nachos recommendation but a recommendation nonetheless.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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