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IN SHORT: A dud. [Rated [PG-13]]
As Cranky was walking in to the second sneak of Jon Amiel's Entrapment, a local television critic friend was walking out of the first show, shaking his head. "How bad could it be?" I asked. "You get Catherine Zeta-Jones in a catsuit!" My friend groaned and continued out the door. As far as yours truly was concerned, the thought of Sean Connery (sexy guy) and Zeta-Jones (major thumpa-thumpa) pairing off should have been enough to make sparks fly onscreen. They don't. To be honest, there was more chemistry between Fred Astaire and Robert Wagner as father and son cat burglars on teevee's It Takes A Thief.
It isn't that Entrapment doesn't do it's best to please. The movie starts with a bang. A masked figure engineers a high tech heist of a famous Rembrandt painting from a heavily secured New York building, using gadgets and gizmos reminiscent of Mission Impossible. The responsible party, according to Waverly Insurance investigator Virginia Baker (Zeta-Jones) is a renowned, but never caught, thief named Robert "Mac" MacDougal (Connery). "Gin" convinces boss Hector Cruz (Will Patton) to let her go after the guy, even though Cruz thinks Mac is too old to have pulled off the job ("He's 60 years old. He ain't Spider-Man!")
Cruz is right, but I'll leave that alone. Gin's plan is to lure Mac, using her wits and great looks, into taking her on as a partner in a job that will make them both billionaires. Which is as good a place as any to introduce the third player in the game, Mac's "silent" partner, Thibadeaux (Ving Rhames), who brings the only spark of life and personality to this otherwise plebeian flick. Two high tech heists later, by the time all is said and done, each player will have betrayed the others, more than once. Shot on location in New York, London, Scotland and Malaysia, Entrapment must have looked great on paper.
The problem is what was on the paper. The script, by Ron Bass and William Broyles from a story by Bass and Michael Hertzberg is terrible. Our top-liners try so hard to mouth words in the classic Hepburn-Tracy style that their own skills and personalities don't shine through. Some of the writing is so cliched that, when the pregnant pause comes in the middle of a sentence like "I'm always on time. If I'm not there..." the guy next to me muttered underneath his breath "It's because I'm dead." Which was, of course, the rest of the sentence. The initial meeting and tete a tete between Connery and Zeta-Jones opens up too many questions, all answered by the end of the flick, that at least one of the involved parties should have been suspicious of the other.
By the time it ends, in Malaysia on New Year's Eve of the new Millennium, Gin will have been reduced to spontaneous tears on more than one occasion, and Mac will demonstrate his superhuman ability to walk through tear gas unhindered. When you get to the final scene, where all is explained, you'll be moaning and groaning just like my friend the teevee critic. God knows Cranky was.
Taken out of context, though, each heist was truly reminiscent of the IMF. Problem is, this flick doesn't offer the tension and suspense that Mission Impossible did. Don't bother to remind me that I didn't like MI either. That was for entirely different reasons.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Entrapment, he would have paid...
Sorry, folks. Pass it by. (and Zeta-Jones doesn't wear a catsuit, but the rest of her wardrobe is pretty damned fine...)
starring Sean Connery:
starring Catherine Zeta-Jones
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