Monday, February 21, 2005


"The Italian Job." Another week, another Edward Norton heist movie.

You know what I'd like to see? Just once, when the standard issue computer geek sits cackling over his laptop (dude, in this movie, he had a Dell!) while he's hacking into the network of the government agency/evil corporation/double crossing bad guy, right after the third closeup of the flying fingers of his stunt double / jumpcut / closeup of the screen zooming in on the terrorist training camp/freelance special ops guys/bank vault, JUST ONCE, as he's blazing through firewalls and encrypted passwords and double jointed triple reverse algorhythms with a half gainer pike position dismount, JUST FREAKING ONCE I'd like to see a pop up window appear on his monitor, advertising, oh, I don't know, Celebrex or Viagra or Russian Mail Order Brides or something.

Everyone in this movie is so cool, cool to the point of being casual, cutty cutty cool cool him so cool him nicknamed Refrigerator, we real cool we skip school, cool cool cool coolcoolcoolcoooooooooooooolllllllllllll. Given that what sets the plot (read: excuse to blow stuff up real good and drive cooooooolll cars recklessly, but coolly) in motion is the cold (cool?) blooded homicide of (spoiler alert!) kindly old Donald Sutherland, a literal and figurative father figure to at least two of the main characters, these cats are cooler than being cool. Ice cold.

Marky Mark has fashioned an improbable career for himself as a leading man at the bottom of the A-list by letting the audience see how hard it is for him up there on the screen, trying to, like, emote and stuff, and be sensitive and thoughtful and not just some snot-nosed white boy "rapper" from Bahston playing action hero. Good for him. Against my better judgment, I've actually come to sort of respect the guy for his efforts. Most of his movies are crap, but still. Here, not even he exudes any discernible effort. He's on autopilot. He's not even showing how hard it is for him to dial down to autopilot; he's just phoning it in. Even Keanu Reeves still makes it look like every line reading takes all his mental powers (sic). (I love these movies where guys like Marky Mark and Keanu and Ben Affleck are the "brains" of the outfit.) And the rest of the cast! Cool cool cool cool frozen stiff. Mos Def had a moment or two in the junior Don Cheadle role; maybe he'll be OK as Ford Prefect in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Charlize Theron won a well-deserved Oscar for "Monster." Here...unnnggghhh. Nothing. Nada. She has a line, a real stinker, something like, "I'm a professional safe and vault technician," and she delivers it like she doesn't want to get within ten feet of it. Well, OK, who can blame her? Rule of thumb: In a heist movie, never make the payoff less than the actual check paid to the actor playing the character. You gotta keep 'em interested.

Norton! Norton, if I'm not mistaken, went to the Yale School of Drama. What's he doing chasing Marky Mark in a big ass Chevy truck? "You're an actor, Max, you should be doing Shakespeare in the Park." He looked like a pissed off Rupert Pupkin. All he could figure out to do with the character was fall back on his wise ass Norton schtick.

Unanswered questions: How did Steve end up with all the gold, considering that he teamed up with about 6 or 8 other guys to get it from Charlie's gang in the first place? If you crawled out of a partially frozen lake high in the Alps with nothing around you for miles, your only means of transportation resting useless and broken 100 feet below the surface with all your valuables and personal effects in it, could you avoid freezing to death before making it to a chalet somewhere? Isn't that what happened to Otzi? Did Charlize's character (Stella?) really drive her mini Cooper all the way from Philadelphia to L.A. to do this job? Why? How many times did she have to stop for gas? Is Seth Green the poor man's Jamie Kennedy, or is Jamie Kennedy the weird sister's Seth Green? What will the inevitable sequel be called? (I'm betting on The Spanish Job. The Brazilian Job? No, wait -- Another Italian Job. The Italian Jobs.)

Finally, the whole Napster thing in this movie. The "origin" flashbacks in this movie were particularly gruesome, one worse than the next, but, OK, the Seth Green one got points for actually having the actual Shawn Fanning actually pop into the actual frame. Very clever. But then, THEY COULDN'T LEAVE IT ALONE. Twenty minutes later, long after the whole thing could have easily been written off as a desperate hipster in-joke, suddenly every other freaking word is Napster, Napster, Napster, I'm the real Napster, you'll never stop the Real Napster. WTF? Maybe the kids dig this kind of thing. But you know what was really funny? When professional safe and vault technician Stella is practicing in her hotel room (I don't think that safe would have fit in her mini Cooper), she's either listening to, or using a specialized tool that looks suspiciously like, an iPod.

1 comment:

Jozet said...

That review was far more entertaining than the actual movie.