Tuesday, November 23, 2004

After the Sunset

AFTER THE SUNSET (Brett Ratner, 2004)

In AFTER THE SUNSET Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek are Max and Lola, expert thieves who retire to the tropics after a final job in which they pilfer a diamond from the feds protecting it. Hoping to salvage his reputation, disgraced FBI agent Stan Lloyd, played by Woody Harrelson, tracks them down and tantalizes Max with information about a diamond being exhibited nearby on a cruise ship. Lola wants Max to focus on writing his marriage vows instead of stealing another rock, but the challenge facing him and the chance to embarrass Stan again may prove too great to ignore.

The Onion’s music writers compose an annual feature in which they pick each year’s least essential albums. They’re not selecting the worst, just those that are utterly unnecessary. If there were a least essential film list, AFTER THE SUNSET would be a lead candidate. I’ve seen at least fifty worse films this year but few as mediocre and inconsequential as Brett Ratner’s latest. AFTER THE SUNSET is completely derivative of Elmore Leonard’s books and the film adaptations of his work, like OUT OF SIGHT and THE BIG BOUNCE. The dialogue mimics the terseness without the snap or humor. Almost every word sounds recycled from another movie. The new stuff, such as a Tarantino-like riff on the music of The Mamas and the Papas, is pale imitation. Ratner keeps this breezy caper moving along, but his workmanlike direction lacks excitement. Apparently his biggest challenge was to find how many different ways he could shoot Hayek bending over in low cut tops. There are worse ways to spend ninety minutes than watching AFTER THE SUNSET, but there are many better things to do too.

Grade: C-

(Review first aired on the November 23, 2004 NOW PLAYING)

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