The Newton Boys

Bomb Rating: 

Wow, Richard Linklater and a linear story. Those two things go together about as well as James Cameron and modesty. (Gossip: Cameron's next film is a $300 million dollar Disney special-effects extravaganza called "Honey, I Shrunk My Ego." Executives are positive that if Cameron can pull it off it's another Oscar for sure.)

Having made the cult hit "Slackers" and the indescribably boring "Suburbia," Linklater has loaded up with every fresh-faced actor on the planet in an effort to get a front page spread in "GQ." Given the appallingly dull story, however, he may have to settle for "Tiger Beat."

The Newtons were 1920s bank robbers who managed to live long and fruitful lives in spite of their profession, and things pretty much get less interesting from there. Willis (Matthew McConaughey), Joe (Skeet Ulrich), Jess (Ethan Hawke) and Doc (Vincent D'Onofrio) are all carbon copies of each other. There's nothing particularly engaging about them as individuals, and when they rob banks, they seem more lucky than adept.

That they never killed anybody is supposed to make the story interesting. In fact, it makes it dull. For the reason, let's turn to chapter 11 of "Why Screenplays Fail": "Lack of Conflict." Most people would rather spend an evening pulling out their pubic hair than watching a bunch of nice-guy bank robbers try not to hurt anyone as they sail gracefully into doddering old age.

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