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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.14%
Worth A Look: 13.16%
Pretty Bad: 19.3%
Total Crap: 23.68%

9 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Mexican, The
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by Erik Childress

"Who Thought They Had A Filmable Script?"
1 stars

The Mexican starts off with a static shot of a traffic light and more symbolic it could not be. When the light does switch to green, the camera still remains dormant until finally starting to move at a snail’s pace, only to stop suddenly as the sounds of a massive auto crash surround the speakers. This is the best way to simplify The Mexican, a film that certainly needs no further simplification. It’s a huge star-pairing vehicle in search of a road. Any road. For this is a film so directionless that if the filmmakers were able to stumble upon the crossroads where Robert Johnson made his legendary pact with the devil for his soul, it would make no difference because soul is the last thing you’re going to find in this mess.

Our latest A-list coupling is Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts playing the most irritating couple this silver screen side of Burt and Loni. Pitt plays Jerry, an absolute loser who’s indebted to the local mob for causing the aforementioned wreck. Julia is his girlfriend, Samantha, one of those Oprah-fied women who keeps accusing her man of being selfish, but always peppers her remarks with “why can’t you fulfill my needs.” A real giver considering that if Jerry doesn’t follow orders, he’ll be killed.

Why Jerry hasn’t been killed already remains one of the films many questions since he seems to monumentally screw up every job he gets assigned to. His new, “final” job (because he mucked up his previous “final” job) is to head down to Mexico to pick up a mythical “cursed” pistol from the 19th century known as the film’s title. Naturally, finding it isn’t a problem, but getting it back is. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be much of a movie, which there isn’t anyway.

When his superiors get whiff of the snafu, the hitmen are dispatched to use Samantha as weight against Jerry’s completion. The winner of this race is Leroy (James Gandolfini); sabotaging Sam’s trip to Las Vegas and keeping her in tow until Jerry can make it back stateside. It’s this “Ransom of Red Chief”-like relationship that is the only one of any substance whatsoever. Even when the big fork in their road hits us right in the eye and makes us wince for a few scenes, Gandolfini sells us on it, well before it gets thrown out the window.

Back and forth we journey through the latest trend to have the two big names we came to see perform together, only to watch them spend most of the movie apart, uniting exclusively at the beginning and the end. (Remember Hannibal?) And through this excursion, screenwriter J.H. Wyman, takes a Torquemada’s delight in torturing us with every overplayed unfunny joke in the canon of bad writers. If you laugh when clueless Americans stick “O’s” on the end of their words to communicate with foreigners; if you chuckle when two characters reach down for something and bump their heads; if you chortle when one character (J.K. Simmons) spends half the movie without pants; if you chuckle and snort when mules and dogs are used for chuckles and snorts, then The Mexican is your shot of tequila. But audiences looking for an absorbing story, engaging characters, enthralling action and laughs beyond the Kindergarten curriculum in a similar yarn, I would recommend staying home and renting Midnight Run.

Roberts and Pitt are given absolutely nothing to do here except whine and act like an idiot. While I appreciate Pitt’s continued attempts to play loons, he still needs some solid material to infuse these losers with, as any good actor would. And if enough academy members screen this disaster, they may change the votes on their ballots from Julia Roberts to Ellen Burstyn. If Julia still feels the need to choose scripts of this caliber, then perhaps she still isn’t ready to win the Oscar.

James Gandolfini is the only actor graced with anything resembling a three-dimensional character. Early on as he plays tough guy to Julia’s manic, freaked-out captive, it seems as if his Tony Soprano characterization had gotten the better of this multi-faceted performer, acting like nothing more than Tony with a goatee. But then, that second act twist adds some real scope into this “cold-blooded killer.” There’s such an underlying sadness to his character that it doesn’t mesh with all the supposed wackiness going on around him. How can you take his intentions seriously when he’s forced to dance around with Julia and a third party to Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance?” Still, his performance is so dignified that it deserves another movie and the second his character leaves in an inexplicable, confusing scene, I was done with this film.

The script repeatedly asks the question that when two people are in love, how much is enough (pain) to go through before you call it quits. It then repeatedly answers it’s own question by saying “never.” Nothing in Sam and Jerry’s relationship is a testament to that very question. He’s dumb, irresponsible and a bad driver. She yells, complains and is never satisfied after reading one too many self-help books. This is yet another movie where love is the magic word for that invisible presence that overcomes all, but where does the love come from? Where did it begin? Why does it continue to strive? Here, that word isn’t magical, but a crutch to lean motivation on. And in the spirit of the Leone westerns (which Alan Silvestri wonderfully parodies with his score), writers who use that crutch need Henry Fonda to come back and kick it out from under them.

When a movie feels like a string of individually written scenes instead of a complete tale, it has all the earmarkings of a film whose running time is a paradox to the Space/Time Continuum. It gives off the illusion that you’re spending about twice the amount of minutes that you’re actually spending watching it. I could continue to dig my fingernails into this mess until they were bloody, but I already chewed them off at the screening just to keep myself awake. Even as happy as I was to see the surprise cameo towards the end of the film, my happiness rinsed away twice as fast when I realized there was another twenty minutes of reel without him in it.

This film is a dead zone from which even Christopher Walken couldn’t rescue it (and, no, he’s not the cameo). Director Gore Verbinski ably created a cartoonish mayhem for his underappreciated “MouseHunt”, but shifts tones here quicker than a schizophrenic at a paint store. It would have been interesting to see what original director, David Fincher, could have molded out of it. Or maybe he just did the right thing and walked away. To quote one of Julia’s inane speeches, the filmmakers have “managed to Forrest Gump their way through this” and two hours of feather watching “American Beauty”-style would be more entertaining than this mess and a half. And it’s a shame because between Snatch and The Mexican, there’s a certain amount of stink being added to Pitt’s resume.

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originally posted: 03/01/01 10:01:10
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User Comments

8/31/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 2 stars
2/04/08 Pamela White not Brad's best work 3 stars
1/30/07 Matt What a fucking mess. Hire it if, and only if, there is absolutely FUCK-ALL on TV! 1 stars
9/22/06 Charles Tatum Surprisingly lucid crime drama, but drowns in its own ugliness 4 stars
8/29/05 Glen Duke Waste of time 2 stars
7/18/05 R.W. Welch Has some amusing bits but very uneven. 3 stars
5/09/04 Rebecca I have watched this film at least 20 times on video and each and every time I am engrossed 5 stars
4/19/04 Croweater Crappy flick, u will want to kill Julia as shes a real slag in this movie. 2 stars
2/22/04 Who shot JR? Has any movie's title character been shot more times than this one's? 1 stars
2/15/04 john bale Top cast can't do much with this muddling along thriller/comedy 2 stars
10/12/03 Carrie Kohl How far Julia Roberts has come since HOOK - from Tinkerbell to Tinkle Belle. 2 stars
10/08/03 Jeffrey Banks Heads up, Robyn! Tain't all that insufferable. Don't let Julia stool ya! 2 stars
10/08/03 Robyn Jamil-Walid Julia Roberts couldn't be more obnoxious if she took a dump in my face! 1 stars
7/22/03 Monster W. Kung Pitt needs to avoid these kind of movies, Roberts needs a punch in the face. 2 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Surpisingly horrid. Brad Pitt acted about as well as Kato Caelin in this shitbag. 1 stars
2/18/03 y2mckay Tony Soprano didn't want to rape the offspring of Mr. Ed? He must be GAY! 1 stars
11/24/02 tigger142066 I really liked this movie. It was good 5 stars
11/23/02 Croweater Crappy flick, u will want to kill Julia as shes a real slag in this movie. 2 stars
9/26/02 Who shot JR? Has any movie's title character been shot more times than this one's? 1 stars
8/08/02 I Can't Swim Actually, Julia & Gando shared a moment that I enjoyed. Emphasis on 'a' moment, singular 3 stars
5/23/02 Carrie Kohl How far Julia Roberts has come since HOOK - from Tinkerbell to Tinkle Belle. 2 stars
5/15/02 Jeffrey Banks Heads up, Robyn! Tain't all that insufferable. Don't let Julia stool ya! 2 stars
5/15/02 Robyn Jamil-Walid Julia Roberts couldn't be more obnoxious if she took a dump in my face! 1 stars
3/20/02 Jim Gay hitman and Gene Hackman steal the movie from the "stars" 4 stars
3/19/02 Mae Mortaveto Horse mouthed women should keep to the stables 1 stars
3/04/02 Jenny Tullwartz Feelgood message-Insufferable harpy still loves outlaw beau after he kills her gay friend. 1 stars
10/18/01 Catherine Schneider I'm pretty sure this movie was aimed at middle aged women. 2 stars
8/14/01 Monday Morning Not bad at all...just 20-30 minutes too long. 4 stars
6/06/01 Muad'Dib Surpisingly, it works pretty well. It's worth renting, anyway. 3 stars
5/26/01 Edward Shandis JESUS CHRIST! WHO IS MAKING THESE FILMS 1 stars
5/23/01 Lohsandt Totally boring 1 stars
5/20/01 Roy Smith This movies feels about three hours long - three hours of commercials. 1 stars
5/05/01 Jon Jones Its Desperado minus the action, Snatch minus the wit, and a movie minus decent direction 1 stars
5/02/01 Pierce Lanson Awful,awful,awful,awful. 1 stars
4/26/01 Brian Somebody kill that vapid, horse-faced bitch Julia Roberts. And the rest sucked too. 1 stars
4/17/01 Lee F Burton. Radio Presenter. Formulaic but great performance from James Gandolfini. Best lines....the dog! 3 stars
4/10/01 muneer78 Not bad. It has an engaging story and the leads do a great job. 4 stars
4/02/01 Carolyn This movie made me cry! It was definitely worth going to see, and I loved Brad and Julia! 5 stars
3/28/01 Rampage Brad Pitt was great, the rest blew chunks 2 stars
3/28/01 Kirsten Worth the matinee price 3 stars
3/28/01 tnt a convoluted waste of time for the viewer....everything misfires! 2 stars
3/25/01 Sid 6.7 A wistful romantic vehicle for the glitzy and glamorous couple of Pitt and Roberts 4 stars
3/24/01 Rebekah Walker The movie itself wasn't that great, but Brad Pitt is gorgeous, so I'm not complaining!! 4 stars
3/24/01 ZuG It was quite funny at times, I liked it. 4 stars
3/23/01 pipeman Possibly the worst directed movie in history. 1 stars
3/23/01 Valerie its soooo funny 5 stars
3/21/01 amy brad is delicious. 5 stars
3/16/01 Gabe WOW did it SUCK 2 stars
3/16/01 Julia Roberts I want to tell all people on earth that I love myself more than the horsemouth I have. 1 stars
3/07/01 Natalie Start offs in debut, just goes further in. 1 stars
3/05/01 Deana Henderson Julia is nothing less than fabulous 4 stars
3/04/01 Jake I'll go one step further: Brad Pitt & Julia Roberts. 1 stars
3/04/01 John Lyons Julia Roberts is still in "white trash" mode. Sucked big time! 1 stars
3/03/01 Buzz What a waste of film. Not even interesting as an example of a bad film. 2 stars
3/03/01 Jen Brad Pitt 5 stars
3/03/01 Jaime MM, your review is pretty wretched 3 stars
3/02/01 Shayne Davies The review didn't read well - and it was full of grammatical errors 2 stars
3/01/01 TimmyToday Julila Roberts 5 stars
3/01/01 Nancy Barton Too long, does'nt live up to hype! Roberts is great. 4 stars
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  02-Mar-2001 (R)


  25-Apr-2001 (M)

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