X-Posted to the the Reel.
Movies about Hit Men with a Heart of Gold are played out. Seriously. There is nothing new you can do with them. They will never be as funny as “Grosse Pointe Blank” or as touching (inappropriate relationship with little girl aside) as “The Professional”. Yet I like Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni so I thought I'd give “You Kill Me” a…ahem…shot.
The first thing I noticed at the screening for “You Kill Me”, was that this was the same audience who attended the SIFF “Death at a Funeral” premiere. In other words, everyone was old. Apparently, the new Retiree Generation likes their comedies like they like their coffee at Denny's. Black and stale. This is comforting, in a way, because it's nice to know that when I'm old I won't necessarily choose to be at home watching Matlock reruns when I could be at the cinema. Unfortunately, it also means that I will be out uproariously enjoying movies that are mostly lame.
“You Kill Me” is the story of Frank Falenczyk, a Gold-Hearted Hit Man with a bit of a drinking problem. When his drinking causes him to botch a very important job, his employers, who are also his family, ship him off to San Francisco to dry out. There he meets a bespectacled (and grossly underused) Bill Pullman who is there to make sure he stays on the wagon. Frank begrudgingly attends his first AA meeting, and encounters Luke Wilson, as the harmless gay punchline who later becomes his sponsor. Pullman also scores Frank a job at a funeral home where he works under the Sassy Black Lady stereotype making dead people look nice. Frank doesn't have a problem working with bodies because he's a hit man, you see. Isn't that just darling?
And then it's time for Frank to meet the younger woman who will eventually warm his cockles and give him a new lease on life etc. The dry-spoken Tea Leoni walks into HIS funeral home to bury her unlikeable stepfather and it's love-at-first sight for these two odd-ball lonely souls. It's all too easy, really. Sure, there are obstacles, but they are precisely the ones you would expect. Leoni must be fine with Frank killing people for a living but she must have an unrelated relationship hangup to get over. Frank must have a relapse and miss a dinner date with Leoni. Frank's family back home must have problems with the man Frank neglected to kill and Frank must overcome his resistance to recovery and his relationship issues in order to save the day. The only thing that's missing is a sweet montage wherein Frank teaches his girlfriend how to kill people. Oh wait, they have that too. I think my monkey wrote a similar script in his sleep last week. Kingsley and Leoni are fine. Wilson and Pullman are fine. The Sassy Black Lady is fine. But no one and nothing is spectacular.
Of course, the audience LOOOVED the movie. They laughed and clapped and waved their canes in the air. Me, I need something a little less formulaic.
One day, I will be the cane-waving person in the audience, happy to know what to expect. Who knows what my formula will be. Since the current Moons Over My Hammy set likes black comedies with heart, perhaps my Rootie Tootie Fresh and Frutie ass will need to see hardcore snuff with heart. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will drive the whipper snappers in the audience crazy. Right now, however, I'm going to go home and watch Grosse Pointe Blank.
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