Reindeer Games Movie Review

Reindeer Games is one of those movies that thinks so much of itself it sports a special cover sheet over the press notes, reading, "Reindeer Games is filled with twists and turns that we hope will keep the audience guessing," followed by a plea that critics will not spoil the fun by divulging these twists and turns to the gentle readers.

All of which assumes there is some fun to spoil.

Set on a cold Christmas Eve in Michigan, Reindeer Games borrows heavily from its northern brethren Fargo and A Simple Plan, leaving the best elements of both those films on the cutting room floor. Writer Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road, Scream 3) has tried his darnedest to create a formula heist movie that breaks from the formula. Unfortunately he has given us something barely worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The plot starts off with promise: Rudy (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (James Frain) are set to get out of prison in 3 days, but the day before release, Nick gets killed (oh no!). Rudy takes one look at Nick's pen-pal Ashley (Charlize Theron) and decides, what the hell, he'll impersonate his best jail-friend to get a little nookie. But Rudy quickly gets drawn into a casino-robbery scheme by Ashley's evil brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise), and then the twists begin.

Of course, by that time a long and lonely hour has passed. The first half of Reindeer Games just sits there, spiked with droll voice-over setting up the notion that Ben Affleck just might be the next big action hero. (He's not.) While Kruger and all-star director John Frankenheimer try to imbue Reindeer Games with that Fargo mystique, they mainly end up relying on Theron's bared breasts to captivate the audience. Mind you, movies have been carried on less before, but the ho-hum thrills and coincidental mystery of these Games will likely leave you shrugging with indifference on the way out the door.

How could a two-inch shiv kill Nick? Why would anyone believe Rudy is Nick? Why does Gary Sinise look like he did in Forrest Gump? Whether you bother to worry about the details is up to you.

Not to mention, Christmas was two months ago.

Affleck threatens Theron with their new movie.


Comments

Reindeer Games Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2000

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