Kill Me Later is your conventional boy-meets-girl-as-girl-is-about-to-fling-herself-off-the-top-of-a-bank-he-is-in-the-process-of-robbing romantic comedy. And, if you can buy that given, you might go for the playoff.

Otherwise: Love, look away. Plausibility is a problem with this would-be-giddy antic about newfound lovers on the lam. The 39 Steps, it is not. To get remotely close to that mark would require far more style and wit than Dana Lustig obviously possesses in this, her second time at bat. Wedding Bell Blues marked her feature debut, and the writer of that--Annette Goliti Gutierrez--is back for seconds here. Believe it or not, it took them 25 drafts to get this froth into the frenzied state of unbridled improbability that it now is in.

Selma Blair, from Cruel Intentions, has the lead role here of a young bank teller who, unhappy over her affair with her married boss, decides to throw himself off their high-rise--only to be snatched from death by a bank robber in urgent need of a hostage. They strike an odd, instant bargain. "Help me now, and I'll kill you later," he promises.

Sweeter words have been spoken. The rest of the film allows him time to take it back and fall in love with her as they elude the easily eludable long and tangled arm of the law. O'Neal Compton and Lochlyn Munro play the pursuing FBI agents a few notches above Keystone Kops requirements, witlessly taking up more screen time than they're worth. D.W. Moffet, a first-rate actor when he has something to play, has nothing to play (Blair's married lover), and Brendan Fehr does adequately as a robbery accomplice.

If Kill Me Later is remembered at all, it will be as the Yank film bow of Max Beesley, a sexy-beast Brit who recently bounded to the fore over there on the telly in the title role of the BBC's The History of Tom Jones. Coming upon him here, without fanfare, as the luckless bank robber is a little like finding Steve McQueen in The Blob--a genuine diamond in the rough. Beesley has charisma to spare and so much watchability, it almost doesn't matter that what he's doing is not really worth the watching. That's a star.

--Harry Haun