Who’s In It: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino
The Basics: Bob and Al are old-school detectives with a serial killer on their hands. Problem is this serial killer is cop-friendly and killing other bad guys. Their natural affinity for taking out the trash and their world-weary natures from having been cops for a million years clouds their ability to pursue the case with any real enthusiasm. Or maybe it’s just that the actors themselves don’t care about the movie they’re making and it shows all over the screen. I’m going to go with the latter explanation for why this thing is so damn boring.
What’s The Deal: I sure did like those Grumpy Old Men movies. Like, even that one where they’re on the boat with Dyan Cannon wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I know, technically that wasn’t a GOM film, but it was still Matthau and Lemmon being cantankerous and codgery. Too bad they’re both dead now or they could have made this movie much more awesome. As it is it’s just an episode of Law & Order with a couple of A-list heavyweights collecting checks.
Guess Who The Killer Isn’t: The whole movie sets you up to believe that DeNiro is the serial killer because he narrates the confession from start to finish. But that wouldn’t be much of a mystery, would it? So that means that the game here is you trying to guess what’s really going on. There are clues, and if you’re paying even a little attention to detail you’ll figure it out. Unlike me. I had no idea who was doing the dirty deeds, which shows you how much attention I pay to the things they want you to focus on. I keep looking at set decoration and wondering where they got all the lamps.
Why You Should See It Anyway: As an object lesson in Hollywood’s ongoing anti-female cake-and-eat-it-too-itiveness. Carla Gugino plays the Jeanne Tripplehorn-in-Basic Instinct role of the lady-cop who likes really rough sex and home-invasion role play with DeNiro, her main friend-with-benefits. There’s this hilarious scene where she asks Pacino to describe how DeNiro roughed up a perp and she gets all short of breath and turned on by it. It’s despicable, of course, that the only woman in the whole movie is one who likes to be faux-raped as often as possible. But that doesn’t make it any less grotesquely funny or weirdly instructive.
What’s Totally Missing: Any single moment in which DeNiro and Pacino, upon discovering a freshly created corpse, high-five one another and yell, “Righteous kill!” I felt cheated.