By Matt Brunson
DIRECTED BY Jonathan Lynn
STARS Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt
Talk about landing the wrong man for the job. Director Jonathan Lynn has built his entire screen career out of helming comedies, yet based on the ham-fisted results, here's a person who's repeatedly displayed the comic instincts of a pillowcase. It's akin to imagining Mel Gibson spending the past two decades conducting sensitivity training seminars for a company's h.r. department.
Lynn, with such duds as the game-board-inspired Clue and Nuns on the Run under his belt, brings his usual flatline style to Wild Target, the disappointing remake of a 1993 French farce. Bill Nighy headlines as Victor Maynard, a sexually ambiguous hitman who unexpectedly decides to assist his latest assignment rather than bump her off. That would be Rose (Emily Blunt), a minor-league con artist who's just scammed an influential mobster (Rupert Everett). Victor ends up protecting the lovely yet prickly Rose from other assassins, with an innocent bystander named Tony (Rupert Grint) swept up in all the intrigue. As Victor figures out how to stay one step ahead of his kill-crazy colleagues, he also tries to sort out his feelings toward both Rose and Tony.
Wild Target is the sort of madcap comedy that breaks a sweat trying to generate a steady stream of laughs, but between Lucinda Coxon's lurching screenplay and Lynn's inability to maintain momentum, the film only works in fits and starts. That's a shame given the contributions of the principals: Nighy displays his typical droll sensibility, Blunt contributes a spirited turn, and Grint makes a game effort at breaking away from Ron Weasley. But in too many other respects, this one misses its mark by a wide berth.
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