I caught a hitman comedy I missed from 2015 and it really should have been good.
Martha McKay (Anna Kendrick) is recently single and slightly crazy. Professional hitman “Clown Nose” (Sam Rockwell) is recently getting out of the contract killing game by murdering all of his clients and is extremely crazy. Clown Nose is being hunted by a former associate, Hopper (Tim Roth). Martha and Clown Nose (AKA Mr. Right) meet and the two hit it off solidly. Despite both of their odd natures, they quickly develop affection. Unfortunately, Mr. Right gets caught up in a scheme involving the mobsters Von Cartigan and Richard Cartigan (James Ransone and Anson Mount) and their henchmen Johnny Moon and Steve (Michael Eklund and the RZA), with Martha getting dragged along with him.
Somehow, I didn’t hear about this film when it came out, but apparently it just got added to Netflix and I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, it turns out that there was a reason why this movie didn’t get on my radar before now. It’s not that this movie was really “bad” in the way that, say, Gigli is bad, it’s that this movie should, by most metrics, have been awesome, yet it really isn’t.
I love Grosse Pointe Blank, Deadpool, Pulp Fiction, John Wick, and even Shoot ‘Em Up, so I can say that I have a certain fondness for the humorous hitman genre. I’m also a huge fan of Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick, including the former’s role in Seven Psychopaths, and the pair have a ridiculous amount of chemistry in this film. Despite the fact that the movie almost completely relies on them falling in love at basically first sight, you can feel the spark between them vividly enough to buy it. Similarly, despite their extreme eccentricities, their performances somehow make it seem believable. The RZA and Rockwell have a similar chemistry as “frenemies.” The hitman scenes are extremely comically violent, although in a rated-R way, something that usually works well for me.
However, the movie manages to fall flat on its face. First, the pacing is terrible. The movie has to rush through their courtship in order to make sure that we can have an entire third act dedicated to action sequences. The problem is that I genuinely enjoy watching them interact and I think that more time would have worked to the movie’s benefit. Second, like all movie hitmen, Mr. Right is hyper accurate and somehow can’t be hit by return fire, but this movie takes that way beyond the normal suspension of disbelief. He’s basically got superpowers and it really takes the audience out of it at times. Third, the plot is slightly more complicated than it needs to be, due to the simultaneous and separate plotlines involving Mr. Right and Martha, Hopper, and the mobsters. Then there are like 3 short subplots that also don’t help matters. Lastly, the dialogue is… well, it’s Max Landis’s college screenplay, so that probably explains why it doesn’t quite work most of the time.
Overall, the problem with this movie isn’t that it’s bad, but that it could so easily have been really great with minor changes.
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