After the Sunset


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"The tag line for the movie is "Who will walk away?"  The answer is, everyone in the audience."










After the Sunset
The Masked Reviewer

If Pierce Brosnan wanted to do a clip reel of his greatest acting moments, it probably wouldn't use up a lot of tape.  Nonetheless, he might pick scenes that featured action, adventure, romance, and even comedy, to show how versatile he is.

After the Sunset feels a bit like a clip reel.  What kind of movie is it?  The Masked Reviewer has no idea.  It appears to be a heist movie, but then it changes abruptly into a buddy movie (with Woody Harrelson), and then again shifts awkwardly into a romance (not with Woody, but with Salma Hayek). 

The film was directed by Brett Ratner, who you may remember as the director of Red Dragon as well as the Rush Hour films with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.  The direction in those films was fine -- he is able to blend action and comedy fairly well (Red Dragon was a laugh riot).  The acting in After the Sunset isn't a problem, either...Pierce Brosnan is suave and occasionally funny; Salma Hayek is sultry and a fully-supported leading lady; Woody Harrelson is a bit unfocused but not bad.  So the fault must be the writer's.

The movie was written by Paul Zbyszewski.  How can someone be a writer who doesn't have enough vowels in his name?  Perhaps that's not his real name, perhaps he just mashes the keyboard, like so many Shakespeare-writing monkeys.  And perhaps that keyboard mashing technique is what led to the script for After the Sunset.  A thousand Zbyszewskis, sitting at a thousand typewriters...needless to say, it ain't Shakespeare.

This is, needless to say, Paul Zbyszewskis first script.  His other work included writing for "The Weakest Link".  That's good preparation.  "Which writer is a few eggs short of an omelet?  Paul Zbyszewski you are the weakest link.  Good bye." 

You can't blame the writer entirely.  After all, shouldn't someone have read the script before the film finished production?  It's all over the place.  There's nothing wrong with having action, thriller, romance, and comedy all rolled into one, but After the Sunet hops around like a wounded puffin, bopping from one genre to another.  As a result, the audience can never really get into the groove of each section.  As an example, the film starts out as a straight-ahead caper movie.  There are a couple of funny moments, but they're not of the laugh-out-loud variety.  Then, later on, the movie turns into a wacky buddy picture.  Then it jumps back to a sultry romance movie with touching theme music and deep interpersonal issues.  Then Don Cheadle shows up.

Mercifully, Don Cheadle does not try to sport an accent (as he did in Ocean's Eleven). 

Anyway, one can't help but think that the movie was written as a way of trying to bring Pierce Brosnan's greatest moments to the screen in one movie.  He gets to be sexy leading man with action and high-tech gadgets (ala James Bond).  He gets to be involved in a daring heist (ala The Thomas Crown Affair).  He does wacky goofy comedy (ala Mrs. Doubtfire and "Remington Steele").  He's British, and British people are funny when embarrassing situations happen, because they're so sophisticated.  Hit a Brit with a pie, and you've got comedy gold.  Okay, Pierce Brosnan is Irish, but whatever.  Hit him with a potato pie.

Not only does the movie change gears too often and without reason, but a lot of the individual elements seem random and thrown in.  Woody Harrelson's character (who never seems to take on any particular importance in the film) develops a relationship with another character.  Why?  It doesn't add anything.  It isn't interesting.  It isn't funny.  It also isn't particularly believable.  He meets a woman, they barely talk, she doesn't like him, then she does, then she doesn't.  Who cares?  Did he need more screen time?  What does it have to do with the movie?  What's the movie about?  Woody?  Pierce?  Piercing a woody?  How distasteful -- yet, a movie about the history of the Prince Albert would have more cohesion.  (For those of you Masked Reviewer readers who don't know what a Prince Albert is, you probably don't want to know)...those who want to know already know.  You know?) 

From the advertisements, you might expect that this is a heist movie with a lot of unexpected turns and twists.  The end of the movie plays out (with flashbacks and clues) like it was a big surprise ending.  It wasn't particularly surprising.  Even if you didn't see things wind up the way they did, you're unlikely to care.

All that being said, it's not a horrible movie.  Pierce Brosnan is suave and fun to watch.  Salma Hayek, even though her character is basically "plot device", is quite a looker and she's got some nice, big, succulent lines of dialogue.  Woody Harrelson is a bit out of place, but he has his funny moments.  The individual pieces are fine, and even though it's kind of a mish-mosh, it's not entirely unentertaining.

By the way...the tag line for the movie is "Who will walk away?"  The answer is, everyone in the audience.

Expectation from the Title: A film about the history and importance of the streetlight; how they came to be, why they're so tall, and when they turn on.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  It's like seeing four mediocre movies for the price of one!

The Pros: A few funny moments, a few sexy moments, a few interesting moments. This is a movie that has it's moments, but a bit too few.

The Cons: Too choppy; the writing is poor and there's no cohesion.  A lot of the high-tech stuff is less believable than a Bond movie.


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