Three chumps fall for a sultry smooth operator in this neo-noir comedy of murders. As the film opens, each man is telling the tale of his involvement with the seductive Jewel (Liv Tyler), one to a hit man (Michael Douglas), another to a psychiatrist (Reba McEntire) and the last to a priest (Richard Jenkins). Randy (Matt Dillon) was tending bar at McCool's the night he first laid eyes on Jewel; he rescues her from a goon named Utah (Andrew Silverstein) and takes her home, where one thing naturally leads to another. Imagine Randy's surprise when the pistol-packing Utah appears at the front door: It turns out he's Jewel's boyfriend, and the two of them make a living rolling horny good Samaritans. But tables get turned and Utah winds up dead. Next thing Randy knows, he and Jewel are shacked up in some form of domestic bliss though, truth be told, she seems more genuinely fond of Randy's ramshackle house than of Randy. Meanwhile, Randy's cousin, weasley lawyer Carl (Paul Reiser), also spotted Jewel that night at McCool's; they soon start sneaking around behind Randy's back. And neither cousin knows that portly Detective Dehling (John Goodman), who met Jewel while investigating Utah's death, is also besotted. He's convinced she's a fragile flower who needs to be rescued from her sordid surroundings, and he's just the man to do it. The various flashbacks eventually bring us up to the present and dovetail, with somewhat less than hilarious results. Maybe all those bloody corpses curdle the laughs, or maybe such cloddish sight gags as a dipsomaniac priest chug-a-lugging from the communion chalice or an apparently straight-laced yuppie in full S&M drag just aren't very funny. And the guileless Tyler really isn't femme fatale material, whether the noir icon is being played straight or for knowing chuckles. Tyler's got the lethal legs, but no steel under the skin; her scheming seems merely a matter of plot contrivance (and very contrived it is), rather than an outgrowth of her predatory nature. When the script forces her to embody various salacious fantasies (most of which involve water and clingy clothing), her exaggerated lewdness makes her look like a gawky adolescent playing cluelessly at being a sexpot.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Three chumps fall for a sultry smooth operator in this neo-noir comedy of murders. As the film opens, each man is telling the tale of his involvement with the seductive Jewel (Liv Tyler), one to a hit man (Michael Douglas), another to a psychiatrist (Reba… (more)