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Wednesday, May 5, 1999


Posted By on Wed, May 5, 1999 at 12:00 AM

When screenwriter Ron Bass (My Best Friend’s Wedding) pitched the story to Sean Connery, Entrapment sounded like a great project: Classy thief, Robert MacDougal (Sean Connery) – an international man of mystery, indeed – falls for young, seductive and enterprising insurance agent, Virginia Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Together they plan a multibillion dollar heist which – for various high-tech reasons – is tied to the first hours of the millennium.

So far so good. In theory, Bass, Connery and director Jon Amiel (Copycat) had a hit on their hands. "A good yarn, with wit, and an intriguing romantic element that puts a real sting in the tale," Entrapment seemed to have it all: a seasoned action hero whose refined charm would bring back dusty tuxedo memories ("Bond. James Bond"); a feisty brunette first introduced to the American public as the daughter of another macho legend (in The Mask of Zorro), unexpected plot twists, outlandish sets, stunning photography – the works. But somewhere along the way the story lost its edge.

Unmercifully slow in the beginning, the movie sets only one trap for its leading man: that of a poorly written script in desperate need of a makeover, littered with one-liners meant for an audience with the attention span of a ferret on crack. In the end, there’s very little we care about, since we know how this flick about a man (in black) who meets a woman (in a cat suit) on top of a very high building is going to end. And they lived happily ever after …

The worst thing about Entrapment, however, is not its story line, but its characters. He’s a loner; she’s beautiful. He’s attracted to her; she’s playing hard to get. He can act; she can’t. Zeta-Jones’ perception of her "on-screen chemistry" with Connery is not much sharper than her performance. "The relationship," she says, dreamily, "reminds me of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy or Bogart and Bacall."

But in our dark theater halls, we think otherwise. And when Connery – crushed velvet in his voice – asks, "Tell me, is there anyone you couldn’t seduce?" we know the answer is yes.

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