Wednesday, March 7, 2001

The Mexican

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2001 at 12:00 AM

How does a movie manage to be both romantic and a comedy and not be a romantic comedy? Welcome to the conflicted heart of The Mexican, a farce which relies on dry wit instead of belly laughs, an adventure where personal growth replaces sightseeing.

Jerry (Brad Pitt), a low-rent and hopelessly inept bagman, is sent from Los Angeles to Mexico to pick up a rare, antique pistol. A seemingly simple task, it soon escalates into a bizarrely comic, Job-like test of endurance.

Meanwhile, his fed-up girlfriend, Samantha (Julia Roberts), absconds to Las Vegas ready to commence a bright, new and Jerry-free life. She’s intercepted by an enigmatic thug who calls himself Leroy (James Gandolfini) and told she’ll be held until Jerry delivers the gun known as “the Mexican,” whose mysterious history is the source of several romantic interpretations.

Screenwriter J.H. Wyman (Pale Saints) has a gift for setting up seemingly random moments and having them slowly reveal clues to the inner workings of his clueless but surprisingly charming characters. Director Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) establishes an odd pacing and sparse visuals which give the film the feel of a live-action Road Runner cartoon, albeit one where the established rules of pursuit and retreat have been turned inside out.

The whole affair is enlivened by two performers anxious to put aside movie-star glamour and get grungy. Pitt’s been heading that way for quite some time, trading in the doomed-golden-boy aura of A River Runs Through It for the invigorating sludge of Fight Club — and when Roberts went working-class in Erin Brockovich, she proved she could kick dramaturgical butt with the best of them. They transform two half-baked optimists riding off into the sunset in a beat-up El Camino — the loser-doofus Jerry and Samantha, a knock-kneed tomboy who spews self-help lingo — into the hero and heroine of their own lives.

E-mail Serena Donadoni at letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 12, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation