After the Sunset

Bomb Rating: 

It's one thing when a director with all the intellectual complexity of a zucchini -- like Brett Ratner for instance -- directs a film like "Rush Hour" or "Rush Hour 2." A medicated chimp with no directing experience could have successfully directed "Rush Hour"; you pair Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker and rest assured, people will probably laugh, whether there's actually cause to or not. Then "Rush Hour 2" came along because it's practically a Hollywood law that successful buddy films must be followed by lame sequels to remind audiences that their brief affinity for the dopes in the first film was entirely misplaced.

Ratner's entire creative contribution to "After the Sunset" is dressing Salma Hayek in one skimpy bikini after another and having her bend over different household items. The film posits that Lola (Hayek) is both partner and lover to one of the world's great jewel thieves, Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan). Other than dressing up in ridiculous-looking costumes to thwart incredibly stupid FBI agents, her contribution is unclear. That is, until the couple retires to an island paradise and we get to watch Max watch Lola use her cleavage to shade every houseplant and kitchen appliance they own. Among the many activities Hayek performs in her cleavage-bearing state: carpentry. You really have to hand it to that Brett Ratner for thinking up fun things for Hayek to do half-naked.

The film opens with Lola and Max stealing the second priceless Napoleon diamond right from under the nose of FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson), whose law enforcement skills are about on par with whoever's in charge of catching Osama bin Laden. This is a man who fires a gun from inside his SUV hoping to dissuade Max. Only problem: bulletproof glass. I'm sure that during this time of crisis in the U.S. intelligence services, FBI agents across America are giddy with delight that Woody from "Cheers" is representing them so ably.

Stan turns up at Max and Lola's island getaway because a boat is there containing the third Napoleon diamond and Stan is sure that Max is planning to steal it. Thus follows a game of cat and mouse between Max and Stan. Not one to miss his character arcs, Ratner allows Max and Stan to become mismatched buddies and harps on Max's commitment issues with all the subtlety of a harbor seal with gas. When she's not bending over something, Lola is constantly nagging Max about their relationship and his promise not to steal anymore. Rounding out the cast is Don Cheadle, who wears an expression that makes you think he's in this film because he lost a bar bet.

The sun can't go down on this film fast enough.

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