by Natasha Theobald
I love the cast of this movie, I like the idea of this movie, but, in the end, the execution was just O.K. Don't get me wrong -- I felt entertained, but I also felt a little empty. The characters were compelling, and there were some good laughs. Disparate elements were tied together in interesting ways. It's just that nothing really happened. I mean, a lot happened but in a random, pointless way.Ray Pluto (Denis Leary) is a cop who has hit a rough patch, personally and professionally. He hasn't been on his game since the death of his wife and child (yes, it's still a comedy -- I think), and, most recently, he was one-upped when an eight year old had to take charge of a hostage situation after he slipped and lost his gun. His back hurts, and his life sucks. His partner (Steve Buscemi) tries to be supportive but wonders if the hugs mean he's gay. His boss (Victor Argo) is not supportive and throws the rest of his cases to the competition (Chris Noth) until he can get his act together. But, he's not really on track for life improvement, as he spends his free time smoking hash and watching cheerleading routines.
"Likeable but aimless."
But Pluto isn't the only guy with trouble. The super downstairs (Luis Guzman) has a teenage daughter (Melonie Diaz) to contend with. She is defiant and dead set on getting her way, no matter what the cost. The guys in the apartment next to Pluto (Donald Faison and Keith Nobbs) also have struggles as they try to write a screenplay, moving them, they hope, to bigger and better. Dr. Ann Beamer's (Elizabeth Hurley) problem is Pluto himself. She is the chiropractor in charge of fixing his back and the woman destined to fix his broken heart. (I apologize for the romance novel diversion.)
All of these things are thrown into the pot and stirred, but the flavors don't always mix. We have everything from high drama to low comedy, with a hefty serving of action and a heady whiff of romance added in. Unfortunately, while colorful and somewhat entertaining, the movie is not the sum of its parts.
The best thing going for us is the impeccable cast. Everyone is as brilliant as they always are, and, though you may not recognize all of their names, you will know and appreciate their faces. Buscemi and Leary make an interesting team, Chris Noth is smart and slimy as the detective who deserves to be heard, Guzman is sympathetic as a fool for familial love, and Hurley and Leary throw off some genuine sparks as a couple.If you love Denis Leary, and I do, this may be worth your time. Otherwise, I would recommend a movie less confused about what it wants to be.
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originally posted: 02/04/03 08:35:52