Volume 94, Issue 86

Tuesday, March 6, 2001


Whoa! Nelly flies away with 4 Junos

Yo non quiero El Mexicano

Atwood's Good Bones makes for a good show

Yo non quiero El Mexicano

Photo By Merrick Morton

The Mexican
Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

A movie whose stars have larger bank accounts than the project's total budget should suggest success.

The underlying question in The Mexican, "When do you get to the point when enough is enough?" is answered in the opening scene and upon viewing the film, it's clear that the point comes very early on.

Two hours of Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts obviously doesn't make for a torturous film, but the lack of chemistry and blatant lack of screen time together makes the film seem disjointed and unrealistic.

Roberts plays Sam, a neurotic, self-help advocating girlfriend who aspires to move to Las Vegas and become a waitress. Pitt plays Jerry, her ditzy, accident-prone boyfriend who allows himself to be dragged around and manipulated by Sam's unruly dominance.

Beyond the introduction of the failing couple's relationship, the total time Roberts and Pitt spend together is about 15 minutes. After a tenuous break up, Sam takes off for Vegas while Jerry takes off to Mexico in search of a cursed gun called "the Mexican." He gets worked over everywhere he goes, and his task is harder than first anticipated.

While Jerry makes friends with blue dogs, finds and loses both his car and the sacred gun and sports an assortment of layered t-shirts, Sam gets into trouble of her own. What should come across as her great charm and ability to make friends, plays out as a superficial and trite subplot of superstar meets superstar.

Roberts teams up with James Gandolfini (a.k.a. TV's Tony Soprano), her emotionally distraught gay kidnapper. If the whole scenario isn't already weird enough, Sam becomes the therapist figure in their relationship.

Furthermore, there arrives a third subplot: The legend of "the Mexican." In the director's Traffic-like attempt at a film of balanced subplots which ultimately tie together, director Gore Verbinski fails to create a unified story. The cluttered subplots are more confusing and perhaps even more annoying, than they are amusing.

The last and least developed storyline is the Mafiaesque, two-faced deception surrounding "the Mexican." One thug hires another to hire another to get the gun, but upon discovery of the cash value of the gun, one thug deceives another to try to better his own financial status. Confused? Try watching it.

This dog-chases-cat-chases-mouse-chases-cheese plot is slightly unrealistic and melodramatic. This film revolves around the common pop culture preference for soundbites and although these soundbites are well written, they stand out against the otherwise conventional dialogue.

Significant quips include lines like, "the past doesn't matter, it's the future that counts," "I'm a product of my emotions," "I need sunshine to grow," and "real emotion transcends language."

If this doesn't get you going, statements like "are you full throttle?" and "you've managed to Forrest Gump your way through this" will.

One should not criticize Verbinski's approach to the film; it includes all the popular images of today's society. The underlying message is in the whole "communication is the key to a good relationship" conflict between Sam and Jerry, a contemporary answer to a contemporary problem.

The Mexican is not a terrible film – there are just too many "buts" involved for it to be considered great.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000