No Deception here, I knew this one would suck! But I was secretly eager to see this movie because it stars Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor so it's actually Wolverine vs Star Wars!
How cool would that be?
Okay, it would actually be incredibly stupid.
Still way better than this movie.
Here's the problem with this movie and why it doesn't work (well, beyond the obvious other problems, like it's unbelievably stupid) and it's something that should have been obvious to everyone involved in this movie.
Ewan McGregor plays a socially awkward geek.
Now McGregor is no buff action movie star, but this is Renton for fucks sake! This is the guy who almost made the Star Wars prequels watchable.
It's not quite as egregious as the usual case of "Hollywood Ugly" where the poor plain girl is actually hotter than anyone you know in real life (hint to Hollywood, taking off her glasses and letting down her hair does NOT turn a girl who is actually ugly into a hottie) but it is pretty bad.
Jason Alexander? Sure.
Woody Allen? Sure.
The guys from Revenge of the Nerds? Sure.
Ewan McGregor? No.
No! No! No!
Ewan McGregor is just horribly miscast here. Almost as badly as Hugh Jackman was when he played a geek in Swordfish. But at least that movie was fun. And, well, Halle Berry... Cough, cough.
So the movie tries really hard to make us believe McGregor is this stereotypical nerdy accountant - Down to the horn rims, bad hair and gray suits. And it takes a long, long, long time to do so and go anywhere. At which point I'm just thinking, "Okay, okay, for the sake of argument I'll take your word for it, he's a geek, can we get on with the movie already?"
So Hugh Jackman is the much cooler friend who takes McGregor under his wing, including "accidentally" introducing him to this anonymous sex club. And what follows is what can best be described as...
It's incredibly bizarre and after having spent all this time and effort trying to establish McGregor as this uber-nerd, who is the audience for this? Certainly not actual geeks - Clark Kent and Peter Parker may be geeks, but Superman and Spider-Man are NOT. That's the whole point.
Who wants to watch some geek bang a bunch of women? Which is what McGregor proceeds to do. But it gets even weirder than that. In this extended, Rockyesque montage of anonymous sex, the only two women McGregor hooks up with who have speaking roles are Natasha Henstridge and Charlotte Rampling. I don't mean to knock either of those fine ladies but let's face it, Henstridge is old enough to be someone's mother (not mine) and Zardoz was more than THIRTY YEARS ago!
So the whole thing has this very creepy MILFy feel.
In fact, while last week's 88 Minutes featured a middle aged Al Pacino pursued (in all facets of the word) by a bevy of much younger women, this movie went for the exact opposite niche with the younger, awkward man initiated by mature women.
Yes, that's right, Hollywood is turning into a crappy Internet Porn site.
Once again, this movie features a villain with a diabolical plot that is way, way too complicated which depends on crazy coincidences and dumb chance such as the hero falling in love with exactly the right girl while he is hooking up with a different woman every night! Wow, good thing he didn't have a predilection for brunettes or he doesn't actually prefer the Charlotte Ramplings of the world. Would be unfortunate if he fell for one of the other half dozen girls...
It's all a dumb ploy to blackmail McGregor into some embezzlement.
Here's the thing, the greatest, most successful and devastating conspiracy of modern times involved a bunch of guys learning to fly airplanes, hijacking some airplanes and then flying them into buildings. That's it. That's a plot. That's a conspiracy that can work. Now I've read as many comic books as the next guy (more) and these big schemes - They just aren't practical. You bribe the guy, cut him in on the action, threaten to shoot him or his family. Whatever. That is your plan. That can work. All this other stuff, that's just asking to have your glorious scheme unravel on you.
Even so, the hero's first big break in turning the tables? He happens to run into someone who actually knows Hugh Jackman's real name and background. That's it. The good guy gets lucky, and I don't just mean that as a double entendre.
The movie comes to a predictable, but still really dumb ending that just leaves us with a bunch of questions...
How does the naive, inexperienced McGregor get a phony passport in 24 hours? Yes, by the end of the movie he's been transformed like Olivia Newton-John in Grease but it's still not like he has any actual underworld connections, or street smarts, or anything.
And how do two characters, independently, acquire handguns off-screen in Spain? I understand they're rather hard to come by in Europe. Again those previously unseen underworld connections I guess.
Why does McGregor leave the second suitcase of money? Does he think that when the police investigate and find there were two men at the bank, and one got killed that they'll just forget about it because all the money is there? Since McGregor is going to now be a wanted man in Spain, wouldn't 10 million dollars, even if it carries with it some "heat" be a little more helpful than being penniless and without resources in a foreign country?
Is seeing all these terrible movies and writing this blog really a good idea?
Oh, and I won't even mention how funny it is watching an Australian and a Scotsman pretend to be New Yorkers.. That would just be a cheap shot.
Christopher, May 15, 2008