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The Mexican

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Mexican

Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rated: R
RunTime: 123 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Action, Romance, Suspense

*Also starring: James Gandolfini, Bob Balaban, J.K. Simmons, David Krumholtz, Sherman Augustus, Richard Coca, Michael Cerveris

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

In Gore Verbinski's THE MEXICAN, Brad Pitt, as major screwup Jerry Welbachan, has been sent on assignment to Mexico to bring back an ancient pistol called The Mexican. A would-be ex-criminal, who was supposed to have already done his last job, he's forced to do one more since he botched what should have been his last.

In order to make sure that nothing "funky" happens, Jerry's employer hires a baby sitter for his girlfriend, Samantha 'Sam' Barzel (Julia Roberts). A psychotic hired killer named Leroy (James Gandolfini) accompanies Sam on her preplanned trip to Vegas. Along the way, Sam, who talks like a new age relationships author, complains about Jerry, with whom she had broken up just before being kidnapped by Leroy. As she gets to know Leroy better, she shifts her pop psychological analysis from Jerry to Leroy, telling him, "I'm sensing that you have trust issues," after he is reluctant to let her go to the bathroom alone. Not surprisingly, Leroy turns out to have a sensitive side, which Sam loves nurturing.

Meanwhile, down in Mexico, Jerry is having a hellacious time as he tools around in his rented El Camino pickup -- he's asked the rental car agency for something more Mexican than the Chrysler that he was supposed to get. He is shot at, thrown in jail, ... you name it. Accompanying him on his travails is a mangy mutt that is part loyal dog and part Cujo.

Perhaps the best part of this quirky tale is the old, sepia-tone, speeded-up footage showing us the history behind the gun. The elaborately crafted gun was made long ago for the hand of a nobleman. We learn not one version of his legendary story but many. Jerry, however, doesn't have time to appreciate the weapon's background. He's way too busy trying to stay alive. The actors, on the other hand, all appear to be having a great time. And if you were worried, as I was, that the director wouldn't be able to make the transition from his first film, MOUSE HUNT, a dark kids' comedy, to a second one aimed squarely at a more adult audience, don't. This film is much better than MOUSE HUNT. And, let's face it, THE MEXICAN is an explosive movie -- exploding with star power. Pitt, Roberts and Gandolfini prove to be a thoroughly enjoyable, crowd pleasing combination.

THE MEXICAN runs 2:03. It is rated R for violence and language and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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