After The Sunset Movie Review

Before I begin my review of After the Sunset, there is one thing I need to get off my chest. Salma Hayek...awoogah!!!

Thank you for permitting that interruption.

Director Brett Ratner sure knows how to use the curvy Ms. Hayek to elicit a response. Throughout this sun-drenched caper, she parades about in a series of bikinis, skimpy underwear, and low-cut tops that defy structural logic. Though Ratner may be adept at utilizing his alluring leading lady, he isn't nearly as skilled at handling every other aspect of After the Sunset.

Hayek and Pierce Brosnan play Lola Cirillo and Max Burdett, romantically involved jewel thieves, who after pulling off one last great heist decide to retire to an island paradise. Lola flourishes in the sunny climate, building a deck on their spacious estate, playing tennis and practicing yoga. Max is bored out of his mind. While Lola is trying to make friends, he's picking their pockets.

After six months, Max's boredom comes to a sudden end when he's visited by his longtime nemesis, FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson). Even though it's way out of the FBI's jurisdiction, the frustrated Lloyd can't stop chasing. He's convinced that Max and Lola are here to swipe the third Napoleon diamond, which is on display at a nearby cruise ship.

Max shrugs off Lloyd's queries, but he's interested. It's the only diamond he hasn't stolen and the ship's super-tight security system only tempts him more. Soon, Max and Lloyd are trying to predict each other's next move. The stakes get higher when a local gangster (Don Cheadle) expresses interest in the stone, while Lola gets increasingly suspicious over Max's loyalties.

After the Sunset sounds appealing in its well-edited commercials, with the sun-drenched locales, shady characters, and who's against who intrigue. After watching 35 minutes, you realize that Ratner, who directed the Rush Hour movies, and screenwriters Paul Zbyszewski and Craig Rosenberg are painting this movie in pastels. That means Lloyd and Max have to act all chummy and that Cheadle, such a good actor, will be nowhere near intimidation mode.

Someone has to hate each other for this kind of movie to work, right? There's none of that in After the Sunset. Ratner and his writers opt for laughs, a stupid move because it completely negates the atmosphere he's trying to establish. The movie's comedic moments are relegated to double entendres, homoerotic mishaps (Brosnan and Harrelson "sleeping" together) and goofy setups that are devoid of laughs. This isn't the cast to try funny. With the exception of Harrelson is there one actor you would trust with a punch line?

I like every actor in the cast, but they're stuck playing roles they've played a thousand times before, only with a script that doesn't capitalize on their talent. (Especially Hayek. Wasn't she nominated for an Academy Award a couple of years ago?) Cheadle gets the worst treatment. Sure, the character is badly written, but if anyone can overcome it it's the man who played "Snoop" Miller. Ratner rarely uses him, so Cheadle becomes an agonizing possibility for a movie in dire need of a spark. It's like hiring Wynton Marsalis to play "Taps" for two hours... on a kazoo.

It's evident that Ratner wants to have fun with After the Sunset, maybe go for a Caribbean version of Ocean's Eleven or Heist. It's a nice idea, but in need of better characters, a better script, and a touch of evil. Ratner, however, can feel free to keep Salma Hayek on hand.



After The Sunset Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2004


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