The Italian Job
Short review: Don't bother.
I really dislike Mark Wahlberg, and I've never yet enjoyed a movie where I was supposed to like and sympathize with his character. (Which is why both Boogie Nights
and The Corrupter
worked so well for me.) The dialogue was lame like a lame, lame thing, and the pace was, well, plodding. Seth Green was wasted; according to heresluck
, so was Mos Def (I've never seen him in anything else, so I can't speak from personal experience on that one, but it certainly was a thankless role). Donald Sutherland and Edward Norton were both sleepwalking (I was amused to discover on the IMDb's trivia page that apparently Norton has made it very clear that he made this movie for contractural obligations only, not
by choice), and I discovered that I also really don't much care for Jason Streatham (whose name I may be misspelling, but frankly I can't be bothered to go look).
Of course, The Italian Job
also suffers from the fact that we watched Ocean's Eleven
last week, which does
have powerful charisma in its lead-man, has genuinely funny dialogue instead of trying-to-be-funny dialogue, and above all has that frenetic, breathless pace that is so necessary to heist movies. Payback
has it. Get Shorty
doesn't. The Pierce Brosnan remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair
has it in patches. If it weren't so hot and my brain wasn't so useless, I could probably think of other examples.
I did like Charlize Theron, and I bought her as a safecracker. What I completely didn't buy was that she would imagine this caper constitutes "revenge" for the death of her father. Because it doesn't. It obviously
doesn't. Revenge is the bailiwick of the mother-freaking Ukranians (one of the film's few good lines), and they get the job done. The script was trying too hard to make us like the characters--they can steal the gold (although notice that it's very carefully constructed as a victimless crime), but they can't have blood on their hands, or do anything the least bit unsympathetic (except for blowing up half L.A., apparently). And no repercussions? nobody else wants this gold? the people it BELONGED to aren't tracking it down? And if Charlize Theron really wants revenge on Steve, why doesn't she just call the cops and bust his ass? And if we're supposed to like these people, they should have given the CHARISMATIC actors more to do.
Or perhaps that's just that I really
don't like Mark Wahlberg.