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
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
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
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