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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.22%
Worth A Look61.11%
Just Average: 2.78%
Pretty Crappy: 11.11%
Sucks: 2.78%

4 reviews, 12 user ratings

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Minus Man, The
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by Chef ADogg

"What the HELL did I just watch?"
4 stars

I wonder who's in charge of marketing these movies. You know, the crazy ones that you can't categorize--utterly indescribable stuff like "Bottle Rocket," "American Psycho," and "Leprechaun 5: In the Hood." I mean, that must be the toughest job in all of Hollywood. You've got this flick on your hands, you can't even understand it--how do you sell it to the general public?

Unfortunately, the folks behind "The Minus Man" didn't really try. If you missed this one in theaters, don't feel bad; I'd be surprised if it played in more than three or four cities. Which is a shame, because it's one of the most unassumingly amusing movies to come down the pike in quite some time--the story of a quiet serial killer in which there is no blood, no motive, and no ending. Nutty.

Owen Wilson is front and center here as Vann Siegert, a mild, polite guy who just happens to kill people. "The Minus Man" never gets into the inner drama that drives his "urge," and that's why it's so damn funny. Wilson (finally picking up after much post-"Bottle Rocket" slacking) plays Vann as a blank slate, someone for whom killing is simply an afterthought. If it happens, it happens. If nobody comes along, then he goes about his day and waits for another opportunity.

Killing is simply one of Vann's hobbies--something to waste time when he's bored. I find that hilarious, especially when you set said killer down in the middle of the strangest small town since Kyle MacLachlan uncovered a festering bed of corruption, sex, and murder in "Blue Velvet." The film's story unravels as Vann settles down for awhile, renting out a room with a local family and (just barely) romancing a coworker. What we're witnessing is just one episode of his life--one day he'll wake up, move on, and repeat the whole thing somewhere else. The film has no ending, and that's the point.

The film works for two reasons. 1) Hampton Fancher's direction. Fancher doesn't feel the need to turn all his scenes into big dramatic moments, and the approach is refreshing, to say the least. Most movies of this sort are overexaggerated and cheesy; "The Minus Man" plays it cool and is ultimately more effective because of it.

Reason numero dos: The cast. They pull the material off brilliantly, inhabiting their characters with familiar ease. The biggest performance, other than Wilson's, comes from the fabulous Brian Cox as the somewhat deranged old man who rents out his daughter's room to Vann. If there were any justice in this crazy world, Cox would be a superstar right now; as it stands, he's one of Hollywood's best kept secrets. The cat is simply amazing.

Janeane Garofolo does what she usually does, but it plays better because she's actually in a good movie this time. She strikes up a breezy romance with Vann that, true to life, never really goes anywhere. Some might complain that the two stars have very little chemistry, but I think that's exactly the point. The only real reason they find themselves together is mutual boredom; Vann won't let anything bigger grow. If he does, he somehow becomes more real.

And isn't that what the movie's really about? The only striking thing about Vann is how very unstriking he is. People are drawn to him because he's barely there; they want to grab on to him and figure out who he is. The key to the film's success, then, is that Fancher never lets that happen. Vann remains an enigma, even as the final credits roll.

"The Minus Man" isn't for everyone. It moves slowly, and there aren't very many thrills involved. But if you give it enough time and enough thought, it may just end up haunting you for days after you've watched it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2203&reviewer=123
originally posted: 04/23/00 11:43:24
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User Comments

3/22/10 NoWoGi Complete let-down. Great acting if they'd've had a script. hate the unanswered ending! 2 stars
8/26/09 brian Too detatched to connect with. Quirkiness with no charm and annoying fantasy sequences. 2 stars
1/16/02 Tomper Minus Man = minus sex;misssed good opportunities. "I feel normal now". A fungus amungus. 5 stars
11/24/01 Mathias Österman Quite eeire in its progression, makes your mind wander upon certain imporant matters. 4 stars
5/06/01 Meridith Pretty good, but I've seen Wilson do better. 4 stars
2/10/01 Del R I was never aware of any "fungus" that killed people by instantly making them fall asleep 4 stars
5/06/00 The Bomb 69 good stuff, ending was a bit contrived 4 stars
4/24/00 John Lyons One of the worst movies I've seen. I didn't feel like anything was resolved at the end. 1 stars
4/24/00 JonnyAngel Different? Yes. Boring? Yes. 2 stars
9/12/99 Mr Showbiz Despite the talent involved, just ends up being another quirky serial killer scenario. 3 stars
9/08/99 Anton Esteban A movie that makes you think about the characters for a change 5 stars
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  10-Sep-1999 (R)



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