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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.39%
Worth A Look84.75%
Average: 5.08%
Pretty Bad: 5.08%
Total Crap: 1.69%

7 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Matador, The
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by William Goss

"Men Behaving Badly"
4 stars

Pierce. In his entire career, Mr. Brosnan’s first name has never been more accurate until his work in the buddy comedy 'The Matador.' Whether displaying rampant vulgarity or rare vulnerability as Julian Noble, a self-proclaimed “facilitator of fatalities,” Brosnan dominates the screen with a cocky swagger and a sharp tongue that will make viewers forget all about his preceding portrayals of a certain suave spy.

However, Julian is an aging assassin whose morals and ethics are growing increasingly unstable with each additional assignment. While in Mexico City, he gradually befriends Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), an American whose career and marriage depend on closing a vital business deal, not unlike Julian. Eventually, he lets Danny in on his peculiar occupation, then convinces him with an elaborate demonstration. Danny finds Julian’s work equally intimidating and fascinating, but soon, their respective jobs are completed and they part ways. That is, until Julian shows up on Danny’s Denver doorstep a year later, looking to cash in a favor when his job becomes compromised.

For the most part, this is Brosnan’s movie, although his performance is a borderline novelty of crass dialogue and ribald behavior. Some of his best lines aren’t fit for print, including a most memorable – and colorful – use of alliteration, but at times, it seems that Brosnan is almost trying too hard to purge himself of his Bond image. Nonetheless, when not exaggerating himself, Brosnan creates a substantial and ultimately sympathetic portrait of Julian’s fading livelihood. Kinnear provides a reasonable foil as the timid Danny, and the ever-adorable Hope Davis makes the most of her minor role as his wife, Bean, who becomes captivated by their guest’s occupation, even when his manners fail him.

Writer/director Richard Shepard crafts a decent buddy comedy out of the strong bonding of his leads, but as the film progresses, he attempts to shift the focus on the shared strife of middle age that plagues both men, and the resulting downshift in humor fails to be compensated by the introduction of pathos, leading to a lingering third act. In addition, although each exotic location is filmed with an exciting and vibrant flare, the frequent appearance of intrusive screen-filling titles adds nothing to the picture.

As mild as the story becomes, the entire cast fully flesh out their roles, and by the end, these tangible characters are worthy of a better film. Thanks to its endearing performances, 'The Matador' is still worth a shot, even if it just misses its target.

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originally posted: 01/24/06 21:07:49
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User Comments

5/14/07 matt absolute crap. totally mismarketed and boring as all hell. and gay undertones? 2 stars
9/13/06 Brinzan Dumitru Nice to see Brosnan outside the "Bond" suit. The duo Brosnan-Kinnear is very enjoyable! 4 stars
9/09/06 Ariel Patience pays off: once we got to the end, we decided it was worthy of a second watch. 5 stars
9/07/06 Albert I had a good time with this flick.. 4 stars
8/13/06 Indrid Cold Pointless and awkward. I didn't notice until now, but Brosnan isn't that great of an actor 3 stars
7/16/06 Phil M. Aficionado Different and thoroughly enjoyable; Brosnan does an outstanding job 4 stars
7/13/06 ad surprisingly good and funny 4 stars
7/12/06 Rick Great movie; Brosnan was fantastic, and I loved the ending. 5 stars
7/10/06 matt starts out great, but slow pacing and no story. not enough action or comedy 3 stars
7/05/06 Caiphn Witty banter gets tired quick. I'm at a loss how this got such consistantly good reviews. 2 stars
3/14/06 Laura Very funny; highly quotable. Definately worth seeing! 4 stars
2/07/06 Elizabeth S Great interplay between Brosnan and Kinnear. Not quite as funny as expected. 3 stars
1/30/06 Negman Weak characterization leading to anti-climax 2 stars
1/29/06 ajay very funny. certainly worth a look. 4 stars
1/25/06 Ole Man Bourbon Really silly, but a lot of giggles. 4 stars
1/25/06 Mike V First time I've ever REALLY liked a Pierce Brosnan performance. 4 stars
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  30-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Jul-2006

  24-Feb-2006 (15)


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