Laurel (Tea Leoni): What do you do?
Frank (Ben Kingsley): I’m in personnel.
Frank: Firing, more like.
"It isn't that I'm sorry I killed them; it's that I'm sorry I killed them badly."
Stef (Marcus Thomas): Look, I know you think you know Frank pretty well, but there's probably a few things you're not gonna wanna hear.
Laurel: Like that he came back to Buffalo to kill Edward O'Leary so he could stop him and the rest of the Irish from getting into bed with some Chinese sugar daddy and wiping your family off the map? Oh, and he's a really big drunk.
Stef: [pauses] Wow. He's really opening up.
At a glance:
Ben Kingsley adds value to this light, slight, but extremely effective and enjoyable black comedy about an alcoholic hit man who is forced to change his ways
Frank (Ben Kingsley) is an alcoholic hit man who finds drink is starting to compromise his job performance. When he sleeps through an important hit and it leads to the downfall of the Polish snow plowing mob he works for, he is banished to San Francisco to get sober. His path back is aided by his gay mentor Tom (Luke Wilson) and by love interest Laurel (Tea Leoni). There’s an almost clumsy divide between Kingsley’s quieter scenes in the film (he’s in a separate city for the most part, with Leoni and Wilson) and the inferior ‘mob’ scenes, but this just enhances Kingsley’s status as outsider. This would be a forgettable film if Kingsley and Leoni were not in it…but they are. Bill Pullman reappears as a sleazy, face-screwing real estate agent; if you’re accustomed to his charmingly bland roles from ten years ago, you’ll be impressed. Director John Dahl even evokes a beautiful, naturalistic performance from Luke Wilson.
Other reviewers said:
"An uneven black comedy-thriller that’s nonetheless worth catching for Téa Leoni’s bracingly sharp performance and the inspired idea of putting hit man Ben Kingsley into AA. Just focus on the well-etched characters and don’t worry too much about the plot."
- Tom Charity (Total Film)
"The film isn't without its flaws, but in defying Hollywood convention, it manages to reach parts other comedies cannot reach."
- Stella Papamichael (BBC)
"Not a masterpiece, mind you, nor the funniest thing you could see on a lazy summer afternoon; but a fine motion picture."
- Tim Brayton (Antagony & Ecstasy)