Picks and Pans Review: Trixie

updated 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/10/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Emily Watson, Nick Nolte, Dermot Mulroney, Nathan Lane, Brittany Murphy, Lesley Ann Warren

Trixie is pretty much a mess. It's one of those oddball little movies that, if seen on the right day and when one is in a forgiving mood, might charm but will strike most viewers as annoying and inordinately pleased with itself.

Watson plays a private detective at a resort casino who yearns to crack a big case. She's none too bright, chews gum incessantly and spouts a stream of malapropisms, including, "When I get on the trail of somebody, I'm going to find him by hook or by ladder." Soon she stumbles on a murder and zeroes in on her chief suspect, a philandering state senator (Nolte).

Nolte's double-talking pol is the only character of interest here, and that's solely because of a neat trick: His more bombastic speeches are borrowed verbatim from those of actual elected officials. Watson (Angela's Ashes) is clearly having a swell time, but her character makes not a lick of sense. In the supporting cast, a number of talented actors, including Mulroney, Lane and Murphy, get lost in the shuffle. Director-writer Alan Rudolph (Afterglow), whose films tend to be hit or miss, misses here.(R)

Bottom Line: Walk on by

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