In his latest attempt to shake his identity as the dim-witted Joey from the TV show Friends, LeBlanc stretches his acting chops as a bad-ass solider boy sent to outwit the Germans during WWII, in order steal their spy secrets. It's a WWII comedy/drama/action yarn with an identity crisis that rivals that of Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs.
The blame shouldn't be put completely on LeBlanc's shoulders; instead it belongs on the knucklehead producers that decided, "Hey, Matt LeBlanc would look great with DKNY high heels and a Kate Spade handbag!" Hell, if John Ritter has an acting career, then what should stop Matt from living out a boyhood fantasy of dressing up in drag and sexually arousing Udo Kier with a right hook?
In the end, All the Queen's Men is a crass and insulting homage to great films like Some Like It Hot and the John Wayne classics. In Queen's, LeBlanc plays O'Rourke, a brash, unconventional Army Major who's been given a Dirty Dozen-type of assignment to parachute into Berlin with a rag-tag group of commandos -- including a nerdy mathematician, an elder bookworm, and Eddie Izzard (sporting the latest Lacombe spring collection) -- to steal the German Enigma code machine from a female-run factory. Along the way, we are exposed to the horrors of war visited upon the German people by the Allied bombers. We are then torn asunder in anguish over lovers, both gay and straight, caught between warring countries. And my, how we laugh at seeing grown men in drag and makeup.
Sometimes, All the Queen's Men plays as comedy, with the usual scenes of straight men in drag learning to walk like Lana Turner and cross their legs like Sharon Stone. Then it becomes a grade-Z action movie as LeBlanc jumps from building to building with Spiderman-like grace. And then the film delivers tragic, ethical moments of pause, asking us to reconcile life and death while serving your country as a soldier. And then Eddie Izzard sings some vaudeville and the German people start yelling, "Hasselhoff! Hasselhoff!" at the top of their lungs, throwing underwear onto the stage. By the end, watching this tripe becomes almost too much to bear.
What's really amazing is that Stefan Ruzowitzky -- who wrote and directed the unnerving Anatomy and the brilliant The Inheritors -- directed this shoddy and cheap WWII "comedy." But with a script conceived by three former TV writers (one of whom wrote episodes of the live-action Spiderman TV show from the '70s and one who wrote the Cher movie Mermaids), maybe that's really the best he could do.
Screened at the 24th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival.
Highest of hijinks.
Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 13th December 2001
Box Office Worldwide: $23 thousand
Distributed by: Strand Releasing
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 27
IMDB: 4.5 / 10
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Screenwriter: David Schneider
Starring: Matt LeBlanc as O'Rourke, Eddie Izzard as Tony, James Cosmo as Archie, Nicolette Krebitz as Romy, David Tristan Birkin as Johnno, Edward Fox as Aitken, Udo Kier as General Landssdorf, Oliver Korittke as Franz, Karl Markovics as Hauptsturmführer
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