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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Decades past its last possible sell-date, Sydney Pollack’s arthritic thriller looks like the end of the line for the old pro. (If you give credit to John Grisham & Tom Cruise for THE FIRM‘s success, Pollack hasn’t spawned a hit as director since OUT IN AFRICA twenty years ago.) Nicole Kidman gets by as a U.N. interpreter who overhears a possible assassination plot against an African dictator. But for some reason she’s just too darn important to take a week off for her own safety when he comes to address the General Assembly. Huh? (The plot mechanics, especially in Act I, are all-thumbs.) G-Man Sean Penn, a freshly grieving widower, gets the case, but his portentous, gravelly-voiced, self-absorbed manner (a Dustin Hoffman-Robert De Niro combo platter) derails any rapport w/ Kidman. And a real stinker of a score from James Newton Howard is schmeared o’er everything like gravy on a blue-plate special.

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