Knockaround Guys

Bomb Rating: 

This film is the first clear-cut case of somebody watching way too many episodes of "The Sopranos" and concluding that what the world needs is more Italian stereotyping.

This film is the first clear-cut case of somebody watching way too many episodes of "The Sopranos" and concluding that what the world needs is more Italian stereotyping. Unfortunately for writer/directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien, all the Italian-looking actors were booked (they're all working on "The Sopranos" too), so they turned to those Italian stalwarts: Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich. And don't the directors' names, Koppelman and Levien, just scream "Italian" to you?

John Malkovich is Croatian, and Dennis Hopper, I believe, is mongrel. Playing Italians, their acting talents are stretched farther than the elastic on Anna Nicole Smith's panties. (Fans, please note: We have reached our quota on Anna Nicole Smith jokes for the year.) They're sporting the worst accents this side of Dana Carvey in "The Master of Disguise."

What's even sadder is that the filmmakers appear confused as to whether their film is a comedy. It starts as a comedy, but apparently the Mafia genre got the best of them and they decided about halfway through that maybe "Knockaround Guys" would be better as a serious, gritty thing. Too bad the story is a joke. For reasons unknown to mankind, Benny "Chains" Demaret gives his son, Matty (Barry Pepper), the job of transporting a bag stuffed with half a million dollars in cash across the country. If Benny doesn't receive this bag of cash, he won't be able to pay the guys above him and he'll be killed. Matty has never done anything like this before, so trusting him with the most important bag run in the history of the Demaret family makes perfect sense. So what does Matty do? He gets his pal Johnny Marbles (Seth Green) to fly the bag across the country even though Johnny is the least responsible of Matty's friends. It take but minutes for Johnny to lose the bag while making a pit stop in some backwards Midwestern state that's supposed to contrast comedically with the East. First the bag ends up in the hands of a couple of skate punks, then it makes its way into the hands of the local sheriff (Tom Noonan).

The sheriff knows all about these kids and soon discovers their mob ties. So what does he decide to do? He decides to keep the money. Because he's a former Marine, he figures that he, his buddy and a couple shotguns will more than able to hold off an army of machine-gun toting mobsters (and if this were World War II, he'd be right). However, because everything is already so completely stupid, our intrepid directors figure they have nothing to lose by adding a truly ridiculous twist, one they apparently learned recently in screenwriting school.

Okay, since you asked, I'll tell you what it is: John Malkovich pulls down his pants and announces that he has a vagina! It's kind of like "Crying Game" reversed. Oh, wait. That's some other movie. A better one, actually.

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