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Overall Rating
2.59

Awesome: 6.14%
Worth A Look: 13.16%
Average37.72%
Pretty Bad: 19.3%
Total Crap: 23.68%

9 reviews, 60 user ratings


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Mexican, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Brad and Julia can't do much for it."
3 stars

A lot of star power plugged into a little story usually causes the story to short-circuit. Movies like 'The Negotiator' or 'What Lies Beneath' probably needed their big stars in order to get produced, but the stars couldn't do much with the rote stories -- it's a losing scenario for everyone except the studios, which cleaned up with the aforementioned films and will likely clean up with 'The Mexican,' the Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts vehicle.

The movie is neither as good as you might hope (given that Pitt and Roberts have been excellent elsewhere) nor as bad as you might fear (or hope, if you enjoy picking apart bad star vehicles). It just sits there, doing nothing that a competent made-for-cable movie with C-list stars couldn't do.

Pitt and Roberts are Jerry and Samantha, a quarreling couple who are in marriage counselling even though they're not married. Samantha is fed up with Jerry and his recurring obligations to shady mob figures; Jerry feels unappreciated and misunderstood -- he's only working for the mob to protect her and himself from harm. (The obligation goes back to a fender-bender too tedious to detail here.) Having bungled his previous "last job" for the mob, Jerry embarks on a last "last job": find an antique Mexican pistol and deliver it to the mob boss. In a huff of disapproval, Samantha takes off for her pre-planned trip to Las Vegas; Jerry heads south of the border.

It's been endlessly pointed out that the script, by J.H. Wyman, was originally designed for slightly lesser stars than Pitt and Roberts; I don't know if the material would have felt less routine with lesser-knowns, though. Director Gore Verbinski (MouseHunt) keeps things moving, but two hours plus is a long sit for a romantic comedy -- I generally subscribe to the John Waters dictum that no comedy has any business crossing the 90-minute mark. We don't care about Jerry or Samantha; Pitt gives a good-sport, well-meaning-doofus performance, looking as though he really did this movie to make a chick flick and make Jennifer Aniston happy, and Roberts more often than not is too shrill and keyed-up. Together, by plot design, they have no chemistry. The stars, then, are being highly paid not to make magic together.

Some incidental pleasures: James Gandolfini, as a hitman who kidnaps Samantha and gradually wins her platonic affection and trust, does his usual gruff-teddy-bear thing; he's become a whiz at it, but if he doesn't watch out he may turn into the next Joe Pesci, a lovable goombah who's no longer remotely dangerous. Here and there you get quirky actors like Bob Balaban as a surprisingly foul-mouthed mob guy (surprisingly for Balaban, who seems too neat and manicured even to have heard such words), Oz's J.K. Simmons as a low-level mobster (he's fine as always, but his waify blonde hairpiece really doesn't go with his mug), and a nice cameo at the end (spoiled by several critics) by an acting legend who makes Brad Pitt look like a dinner-theater actor without even getting up from his chair.

But mainly this is a star vehicle, apparently rewritten as such, so there are few surprises (aside from a largely irrelevant factoid about Gandolfini's character which seemingly exists to give Julia a chance to rehash some My Best Friend's Wedding vibes). The Mexican is painless enough, a competent no-brainer with big Hollywood names directed by a non-entity who can be trusted to park the vehicle without a scratch. I can't really say what the major difference is between this movie and Julia Roberts' previous star vehicle, Erin Brockovich; maybe the difference is the director (Steven Soderbergh, certainly the opposite of non-entity), or maybe it's just that Erin Brockovich would've been a good movie even without Julia, and Julia made it shine.

'The Mexican' probably would've been a lame movie without Julia and Brad, and it's only slightly less lame with them; there are too many moments where you catch them thinking that the movie needs them far more than they need it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3895&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/16/07 12:21:28
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User Comments

8/31/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 2 stars
5/20/08 PAUL SHORTT I LEFT HOPING THAT I NEVER SEE EITHER OF THEM AGAIN IN ANYTHING 1 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Mar-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Apr-2001 (M)




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