Blood and Wine

Bomb Rating: 

When a person turns to a life of crime there is usually a reason:financial trouble, personality dysfunction, bad time-management, too many episodes of "Suddenly Susan," etc. While there are some interesting mysteries in director Bob ("Black Widow") Rafelson's noir thriller, the reason Alex Gates (Jack Nicholson) steals an expensive piece of jewelry is not one of them.

Gates would seem to have a reasonably secure life. He's a wine merchant. He drives a nice, red BMW. Sure, he's got a rocky relationship with his wife, Suzanne (Judy Davis), and his stepson, Jason (Stephen Dorff), but Christ, if the family's going to bitch and moan, it seems like locking yourself in the wine cellar and chugging vino for a couple of hours would be the perfect psychological cure.

Instead, Alex hooks up with his emphysemic pal, safe-cracker Victor Spansky (Michael Caine) and plans the robbery with the help of his mistress, Gabrielle (Jennifer Lopez). This array of dysfunctional relationships soon undermines Alex's quest for happiness, independent wealth and uninterrupted sex with a woman a third of his age.

When the film finally ends in a fit of dysfunction, you may not have a clue about anybody's real feelings, but you'll have a whole lot of hope for the potential of group therapy. You'll also have developed a sound respect for the importance of regular medical checkups, since spending two hours watching Caine cough up blood is enough to make you regurgitate your popcorn.

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