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Overall Rating
3.05

Awesome: 13.64%
Worth A Look36.36%
Just Average: 13.64%
Pretty Crappy: 13.64%
Sucks: 22.73%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings



Lucky Number Slevin
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Even 'Larry the Cable Guy' wasn't this annoying"
1 stars

I have seen plenty of bad movies lately but I can’t think of one in recent memory that has annoyed me as much as the new crime film “Lucky Number Slevin.” This is a film that, with its convoluted plotting, glib dialogue and hipster vibe, is clearly aching to be considered the next “Pulp Fiction” or “The Usual Suspects,” though the smug and stupid results don’t even deserve to be compared with the likes of “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” or most of the other faux-Tarantino efforts that have emerged in the last decade.

Josh Hartnett stars as Slevin, an ordinary schnook who arrives in the big bad city to visit his friend Nick. With the friend nowhere to be seen, Slevin is staying in Nick’s apartment when a couple of goons arrive to bring Nick to their boss and mistakenly take Slevin, who was mugged earlier that day and cannot prove who he is or isn’t. The boss turns out to be a crime kingpin, crafitily known as The Boss (Morgan Freeman), and Nick turns out to owe him thousands of dollars in gambling debts. In order to pay him off and make things even, The Boss orders Slevin/”Nick” to kill The Rabbi (Sir Ben “Without a Clue” Kingsley), the head of a rival Jewish crime organization. Slevin has no choice but to agree but the moment that he leaves The Boss, he is brought to The Rabbi where he is coerced into agreeing to kill The Boss as well. While trying to figure a way out of his predicament that doesn’t involve him killing or getting killed, Slevin crosses paths with the overly friendly next-door neighbor/coroner (Lucy Liu), a hard-ass detective (Stanley Tucci) who suspects him of being in cahoots with The Boss and/or The Rabbi and a legendary mob assassin (Bruce Willis) who has returned to town for the first time in 20-odd years and who is always lurking around in the shadows. It all drags on until it finally arrives at the inevitable twist ending, one whose impact is reduced considerably because of its agonizing obviousness.<

The notion of one man trying to play two criminal factions against each other without getting killed himself has inspired any number of good movies over the years–titles such as “Yojimbo,” “Millers Crossing” and the current “Brick” immediately spring to mind. However, “Lucky Number Slevin” has hardly begun unspooling before it starts shooting itself in the foot. For starters, Jason Smilovic’s screenplay is an irritating mess that tries so hard to upend audience expectations by jerking them around with endless digressions and one damned plot twist after another that it never quite gets around to telling a story interesting enough for them to have any impact in the first place. In a film like “Pulp Fiction,” the seemingly extraneous details (such as the discussion that managed to encompass foreign cheeseburgers, foot massages and television pilots) helped to flesh out the characters and scenes that initially seemed to have no real purpose (like the opening diner conversation and the legendary Christopher Walken monologue) were actually devices used to cleverly set up key plot devices further down the line without having to spell them out in detail. Here, Smilovic tries for the same thing but the results come across as forced and hollow–they seem to have been included less because they were the right way to tell the story and more because Smilovic felt that he needed to include them because Tarantino did. This wouldn’t have even been so terrible if the dialogue at least had trace elements of wit and style but it is just another rehashed collection of self-consciously slangy lines mixed in with annoying pop-culture references to no real purpose.

Further hampering the proceedings is that this utterly empty screenplay has been cast with one of the emptiest of actors, Josh Hartnett, as its central character. Okay in supporting roles and ensemble pieces, he has yet to demonstrate even the slightest traces of the presence required of a leading man and to accept that two fearsome criminal masterminds would entrust such a shlub with their diabolical plans stretches the already unbelievable premise to the breaking point. (You would have thought that director Paul McGuigan would have realized this inescapable fact, having previously used Hartnett as the star of the equally lame “Wicker Park,” but apparently not.) Perhaps to compensate for his shortcomings, the film surrounds him with a group of actors who were apparently all hired under the impression that they would be playing the colorful, scene-stealing supporting role. The sight of watching the likes of Freeman, Kingsley, Tucci and Willis plodding through material that is far beneath their talents (and yes, I say that knowing full well that Kingsley’s personal crap detector has apparently been on the fritz lately) that you wonder what they could have seen in the script that inspired them to sign on in the first place.

That said, I can at least understand why “Lucky Number Slevin” is getting such a big push. Following their flurry of Oscar contenders, the film is one of the first big releases from The Weinstein Company following Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s split from Disney and Miramax. Clearly, they are hoping that by releasing a crime film with a perplexing narrative and a star-filled cast, they can somehow make lightning strike a second time–“Pulp Fiction” was, after all, the first big hit for Miramax after they merged with Disney. Needless to say, the film is no “Pulp Fiction.” Hell, “Lucky Number Slevin” is so dreadful that it barely deserves to be ranked alongside “Four Rooms.”

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13578&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/07/06 00:18:10
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
6/22/09 Beefsolver Transparently derivative. Uneven results. Beef solved. 3 stars
11/25/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
6/11/08 PAUL SHORTT A FILM RECYCLED FROM TOO MANY PREVIOUS MOVIES 1 stars
3/04/08 JLH Very good flim... 4 stars
9/21/07 Steve Newman I loved this film - go see 4 stars
5/29/07 Piz an 0-2 pitch high and outside ... a waste! 2 stars
3/15/07 Matt A strong cast is wasted on this overly complicated pile of cinematic effluent. 1 stars
10/29/06 JeromeBosch Elaborate, intelligent and satisfying. Excellent! 5 stars
10/23/06 Indrid Cold Great dialogue + decent story = above average. Hey, I liked it more than Pulp Fiction. 4 stars
10/21/06 Dillon A mindgame worth playing. 4 stars
10/10/06 jagnet I thought this was very entertaining. One for the collection 5 stars
10/04/06 Jordan Whoever wrote that review is a moron! It was incredible. 5 stars
10/02/06 Agent Sands One of the most brilliant scripts ever written. Dialogue & story are both refreshingly new! 5 stars
9/21/06 Alyssa Hale It has a good story which is developed well through the movie. 4 stars
9/20/06 matt enjoyable but VERY predictable 4 stars
9/16/06 ad entertaining 4 stars
8/24/06 Ali Junaid Hayat It is a good story. 3 stars
5/26/06 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Possibly the best amoral contorted thriller since A FISH CALLED WANDA. 5 stars
4/30/06 David Pearson Superb well told entertaining crime story 5 stars
4/29/06 Agent Sands Riveting, Oldboy-style refresher. 5 stars
4/27/06 Ahmed Kazikian Good movie. Stop bashing it, and pay attention; you'll enjoy it. Not a masterwork, but fun. 5 stars
4/22/06 Yvonne I thought the movie was very good. It could have been better, but overall it was good. 4 stars
4/15/06 mr.mike thumbs up 4 stars
4/12/06 San Lamar Entertaining Action Flick 4 stars
4/11/06 the reader lame and derivative, all hype and boring to sit through 1 stars
4/08/06 Steve Michaud Enjoyable blending of Hitchcock and Tarantino 4 stars
4/07/06 jasq hit man with a heart of gold. 3 stars
1/28/06 xtc at least the movie has wallpaper going for it. 2 stars
1/23/06 Ellen James Very violent! Too much gore and not enough plot. Mystery that was figured out in 15 min.! 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 12-Sep-2006

UK
  24-Feb-2006

Australia
  09-Nov-2006



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Paul McGuigan

Written by
  Jason Smilovic

Cast
  Josh Hartnett
  Ben Kingsley
  Bruce Willis
  Morgan Freeman
  Lucy Liu
  Stanley Tucci



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