Keepin’ it reel: The Mexican
Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolifini
Running time: 123 minutes
Rated: R (language and violence)
Could they be any cuter? Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, that is, in the recently released screwball road adventure “The Mexican.”
The answer is no!
Roberts’ famous smile and Pitt’s baby blue eyes and charming grin absolutely shine on screen, especially when they’re together, which unfortunately isn’t much.
But cuteness alone doth not a great movie make.
The Mexican had the recipe for a good movie: notable performances by Pitt, Roberts and The Sopranos’ James Gandolfini; a good, slimy supporting cast; and three sepia-toned re-enactments of the legend surrounding a gun called “the Mexican.”
But somewhere between the first 10 minutes when we’re introduced to Pitt’s Jerry and Roberts’ Samantha and when they’re reunited in the last 45 minutes, the film slowly goes south, along with almost everyone else.
Pitt plays an excellent Jerry- a doltish, juvenile lackey who owes a mob boss named Margolese (Gene Hackman) one last favor: go to Mexico, meet a guy in a bar, get the relic revolver and bring it back to the states.
Easy enough – but not for Jerry.
He spends the bulk of the movie retrieving the gun, losing the gun, getting the gun stolen and then stealing it back. In the meantime, Samantha- to whom Jerry is hopelessly devoted- leaves Jerry and heads to Las Vegas to be a croupier.
Jerry’s mishaps bring his beloved back into the picture and place a hit on his head from some of Margolese’s disloyal Mafioso family members.
Because the revolver would fetch a hefty price on the street- a value never revealed or reasoning really explained- a hit man named Leroy (Gandolfini) holds Samantha to insure Jerry will retrieve the gun.
Oh if it were only that simple!
Soliciting comments from the psychobabbling, Oprah-watching Samantha like, “This is so Jerry,” the hitman and hostage girlfriend connect the most out of any of the characters; sharing troubled relationship stories and the most endearing scenes in the movie.
Leroy is a sensitive hit man, an oxymoron that rings true, as he cries over breakfast with Samantha and five minutes later blows someone away in front of her. Surprising twists involving Leroy, deft banter between Jerry and Samantha and the tail of the Mexican revolver realized in the end save this movie from being buried 6 feet under along with victims of the film’s often showy violence.
Although Jerry and Samantha’s relationship is disappointingly G-rated, (Pitt is a newlywed, of course), their love transcends the miles between them and makes you answer “never” when Samantha asks Jerry, “When is enough, enough,” in regards to their relationship.
The story may sometimes drag and the dialogue seem sort of dim, but Pitt and Roberts’ energy provide the wattage that keeps The Mexican from burning out altogether.
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