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by Willie Waffle

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The Matador

The Matador wants to be Sideways with two wacky guys out on a wild adventure, but the movie only has one guy funny enough to make it work. You might be surprised who it is.

Pierce Brosnan stars as Julian - a hired assassin suffering from depression on his birthday. He seems to have a glamorous lifestyle full of wine, women and song as he trots around the globe carrying out the orders of a mysterious boss who only communicates to him through Mr. Randy (Philip Baker Hall), but feels empty inside. While in Mexico City on a job, he meets Danny (Greg Kinnear) - a businessman from Denver on a make-or-break trip to win over a client and get his life back on track after a layoff, personal tragedy and three rough years in business for himself. The two hit it off finding mutual fascination in each others lives. However, each is at the breaking point and about to make decision that will change those lives forever.

Will Danny win over the client? Can Julian keep doing this empty job?

The Matador is a failure because Brosnan and Kinnear have zero chemistry together. Making it even more painful to say that, Brosnan puts in the performance of a lifetime as the quirky, wacky, on the edge assassin. He is dynamic and awesomely hilarious as the dirty lothario who always says the wrong thing and doesn't fit into what we would consider normal and polite society, but it is all for naught as the movie never seems to find the right tone, and his co-star falls behind.

Kinnear tries to be too reserved, which leads to Danny being a boring character. He needs to find some more energy. While a contrast to Julian's outrageous behavior, Kinnear takes it too far to the other extreme in a movie that doesn't have a great deal of emotional depth. Towards the end of the movie, it becomes painfully apparent Hope Davis, playing Danny's wife, Bean, has more chemistry with Brosnan than Kinnear ever could muster. She is as goofy and funny as he should be. Brosnan and Kinnear struggle along, but never find their rhythm, even as the movie moves to what should be a crazy ending.

Writer/director Richard Shepard provides some juicy, provocative dialogue for Brosnan, full of colorfully descriptive and vibrant language, but the movie needs double the laughs and double the plot twists to win us over.

1 ½ Waffles (Out Of 4)

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