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Slick light entertainment from the Sonnenfeld camp.  Maybe a little too slick, that's the problem.  I hope Barry settles his long-running feud with Jan De Bont one of these days.

The plot involves a man not dissimilar to the author Dave Barry who finds himself entangled in a plot involving a nuclear bomb and many colorful characters who all tend to say, not necessarily the right thing for the given situation, but the wittiest thing, were an audience present.  This is part of a new trend of movies that seem to be almost genetically engineered for cable.  Along with 'Men In Black 2', it seems like anytime this movie's on I'll just sit and watch it til the end, which can be inconveniencing if I have things to do.  Not that it matters, but I've finally seen the first five minutes of the movie after about nine viewings of the rest.  Not bad.

For those of you who are fans of the Coen brothers, one might find similarities between this and 'Raising Arizona', and not just in the crew.  The frenetic pacing, the colorful characters, the repetition of certain key phrases.  Raising Arizona: "Don't forget his profile, Ed!"  Big Trouble: "Looks like a garbage disposal" and "Was that a goat?"  Also, look fast for the ode to 'Blood Simple'.  Hint: it's in the Hummer.

Perhaps the proper way to judge this film is to ask Matt Arnold and Jenny Herk what they think of it.  My feeling is they'd think it's too slick, not edgy enough, that kind of thing, and they might not be happy with the actors portraying them.  So young, so jaded.

Standouts in the cast: Heavy D, Patrick Warburton, Dennis Farina (in an homage to his famous line from 'Midnight Run') and DJ Qualls.  But the whole cast does well, really.  And Johnny Knoxville, well, what can I say?  This is the most insidious casting coup since Michael Cimino fixated on Mickey Rourke!  He has one of the best lines, though: "Let's get outta here, I think I hear one of them silent alarms."  But the funniest single line for my money has got to be after Jack Kehler drops the golf club bag for the first time.  Two passersby see his rifle, and he says "We play with a guy that cheats".

Motifs: Several recurring jokes: dog sniffing people's crotches, TVs getting shot, things getting dropped onto the bomb case in the bar/gun depot, Martha Stewart, and the Discovery Channel, among others.

Recurring lines: "Looks like a garbage disposal", "Was that a goat?" and "You got that right."

Carpe Diem factor: Not so much here, but the importance of love is emphasized, especially the line about one soul sharing two bodies.

Political Activism: At one point Tom Sizemore sez "I'm tired of living foot to mouth."  Oh, and his character in the movie feels that way too...

Spot the director: Gator fan calling in to say he's calling in.

** and 3/4 stars

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

(c)2004 Bulk Entertainment

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