Saturday, January 27, 2007

Smokin' Aces: neither smokin' nor ace.

Someone help me - has Ryan Reynolds ever been in a good movie? Blade:Trinity, The Amityville Horror and now Smokin' Aces, a nasty,brutish but sadly not short movie that isn't remotely as funny or as thrilling as it thinks it is. And it can forget about stylish either.
Writer-director Joe Carnahan's bid to give the movie style is its biggest problem; an essentially simple story of the FBI, skiptracers and assassins all after a Las Vegas entertainer-turned-snitch (Jeremy Piven) is subjected to endless stretching out, fantastically annoying touches - way too many connecting scenes have one sentence carried over to another, there are far too many characters and too few of them given any room to grow, and moments that want to be quirky but just grate (why do we have to see Jason Bateman wearing women's underwear? What is the point of a small boy giving karate chops and getting an erection?)- and utter, utter stupidity; Smokin' Aces is the kind of movie where three bad guys who look like a punk rock group manage to get into a hotel without anyone seeing them.
Meanwhile, while Carnahan's indulging himself (note how many of the scenes go on longer than necessary, like Matthew Fox's cameo) the movie's few moments of interest are lost, and the actors are left struggling with their receptacles for profanity - as opposed to proper characters. All of which makes the movie both hypercharged and boring; it just doesn't matter whether or not they get to Piven's character,you just find yourself wanting to say "Oh for goodness' sake just END already." On the upside, Ennio Morricone gets put to some nice use, Ben Affleck is pretty good in his glorified cameo, and Alicia Keys does quite well as a sultry lesbian assassin. (Her contribution is entirely acting-related.) The movie's ultimate payoff would also probably be more effective had the movie been shorter, or better developed. Janet Edwards as "Naked Prostitute" is nice as well.
But basically all this movie is is, as Chief Wiggum once said,"Lots of flash - no depth." And it has to be said - Ray Liotta has a complexion like an uncooked Yorkshire pudding. (Oh, and what the hell kind of accent is Andy Garcia using?)


The Archivist said...

You know, when people review shit films, I just wonder why they are doing so. If it's that bad, why spend time and effort thinking up a good way to tell the world how shit it was?

Even so, your review has compelled me to ignore the existence of this film, until such time as I have to.

Cindylover1969 said...

"If it's that bad, why spend time and effort thinking up a good way to tell the world how shit it was?"

Because it's FUN to eviscerate a bad film; and it makes it even better when you see something that's actually good, like Monster House or Happy Feet.

All Hail King Butcher! said...

To answer Kira, because people need to be warned and sometimes you don't realize it's a shit film until you see it.

To answer Victor, I changed my template entirely. And would you like to buy my watch? :)