Picks and Pans Review: The Mexican
In their first screen pairing, whopping big stars Roberts and Pitt barely spend enough time together to order a meal. And forget about passion; these two sex symbols are never given a chance to get all hot and steamy. The Mexican isn't that kind of movie. So what kind is it? A determinedly quirky romantic comedy with plenty of gunplay and intrigue that, while entertainingly directed by Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt), adds up to no more than a tasty snack.
Roberts plays Samantha, a woman who insists that her live-in honey, Jerry (Pitt), quit his job as an errand boy for an L.A. crime boss and head with her to Las Vegas. He can't, he tells her, until he finishes one last job: fetching an antique pistol known as The Mexican from south of the border. In a huff, she heads to Vegas solo in her green VW Beetle but is taken hostage en route by Leroy (Gandolfini, of HBO's Sopranos), a hit man who is also after the gun. Samantha and Leroy soon become the best of buddies. "You're a very sensitive person for a cold-blooded killer," she tells him admiringly. Jerry, meanwhile, is miles away in Mexico, running into nasty troubles of his own.
Both Roberts and Pitt are having a hoot here—she spouting endless psychobabble ("Jerry's a taker and I'm a giver") and he goofing on Jerry's not being the sharpest knife in the drawer. The film's most rewarding performance, though, is by Gandolfini, who in Leroy creates a character of depth and surprises. (R)
Bottom Line: Borderline fun