Dir: Brett Ratner. 2004.US. 93mins.
Brett Ratner's capercomedy After The Sunset is a plodding, lifeless affair set on a Bahamasresort island that aspires to the level of To Catch A Thief but barelymusters the cultivated glitz of star Pierce Brosnan's Thomas Crown Affairremake.
Instead it serves up anexotic Caribbean locale and two handsome stars trapped in a methodical jewelheist script that lacks the necessary wit, charm and sophistication.
International numbers willdepend on Brosnan's ability to lure in his Bond audience; in the US, where thefilm opens on Nov 12, audiences will more likely be concerned with animatedfeatures The Incredibles and Polar Express.
That said, After TheSunset may benefit from counter-programming against these bigger films andattract young males drawn by the prospect of Hayek's cleavage. Ultimately, itsbest hopes of recouping its estimated $60m budget may lay in ancillary.
Brosnan stars as MaxBurdett, an aging but still suave jewel thief who, with the help of his sexy accompliceLola (Hayek, disguised as a bum in the film's prologue), succeeds in pilferingthe second of three Napoleon diamonds from FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson) ina brazen heist outside Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Retiring to fictionalParadise Island in the Bahamas (much of the film was shot on Nassau, in andaround the sprawling Atlantis Resort) the couple prepares to bask in theafterglow of their success, indulging in pricy lobster dinners and shorelinebouts of gauzy al fresco lovemaking.
Flouting his jurisdiction,swaggering, doltish Agent Lloyd takes a room at the Atlantis, convinced thatBurdett will try and steal the third Napoleon diamond from a cruise ship dockedoff the island. Burdett imposes his control over the situation by upgrading hisnemesis to a lavish suite.
Cat and mouse games ensue,igniting an adversarial, often shirtless buddy relationship between Lloyd andBurdett that threatens Lola's role in the equation.
The plot thickens whenisland gangster Harry Moore (Cheadle), an American expat turned sleazydeveloper with a penchant for turning children's hospitals into paramilitarytraining camps, approaches Burdett about stealing the diamond for a hefty sum.
Lloyd teams up with a sexylocal cop (Naomie Harris) to try and prevent Burdett from making another brazentheft, culminating in a predictable flurry of double crosses that pales next tobreezier ensemble fare like the Oceans Eleven remake, which Sunsetemulates in its wealthy exoticism but fails to eclipse in prankish camaraderie.
In the end it feels morelike an advertorial for the Atlantis Resort: unsurprising given that thecompany, along with the likes of the Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism, are one of AfterThe Sunset's marketing partners.
The most egregious flawsstem from an innocuous, leaden script that lacks laughs, gadgetry andexplosions - anything to hold up the flimsiest of cat-and-mouse conventionsdisplayed here. Lalo Schifrin's canned jazz-funk score suggests an AaronSpelling-produced TV crime drama from the late 1970s.
Ratner aims for a highbrowscrewball romantic confection like To Catch A Thief but Hayek here lacksthe necessary comic timing: stilted dialogue also does not help.
Nobody save for Harrelsonseems to be having much fun, least of all Brosnan, who begrudgingly shows offhis hirsute midsection and unshaven jaw of steel but rarely exudes the dashingcharm and wit that served him well in Remington Steel, The ThomasCrown Affair and his several James Bond outings.
If After The Sunset issupposed to reflect the calm after the storm of an otherwise stellar career -as much for Max Burdett as for Brosnan - then give this silver fox another Bondpicture.
Prod cos: Firm Films,Contrafilm, Rat Entertainment
US dist: New Line
Int'l sales: New Line International
Prods: Patrick Palmer, Toby Emmerich, Kent Alterman, Tripp Vinson, JayStern, Beau Flynn
Scr: Paul Zbyszewski and Craig Rosenberg, from a story by PaulZbyszewski
Cine: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Mark Helfrich
Prod des: Geoffrey Kirkland
Music: Lalo Schifrin
Main cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson,Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn