AFTER THE SUNSETPG-13
NEW LINE/Color/2.35/Dolby Digital, DTS & SDDS/93 Mins./Rated PG-13
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn, Mykelti Williamson, Obba Babatunde, Russell Hornsby, Rex Linn, Troy Garity, Omayra Vavela, Noemie Lenoir.
Credits: Directed by Brett Ratner. Screenplay by Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg. Story by Zbyszewski. Produced by Tripp Vinson, Jay Stern, Beau Flynn. Director of photography: Dante Spinotti, Production designer: Geoffrey Kirkland. Edited by Mark Helfrich. Music by Lalo Schifrin. Costume designer: Rita Ryack. Executive producers: Patrick Palmer, Toby Emmerich, Kent Alterman. A Firm Films/Contrafilm and Rat Entertainment production.
Following one last successful heist, master jewel thieves Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) and Lola Cirillo (Salma Hayek) decide to retire to the Bahamas and rest on their larcenous laurels. But their island paradise is threatened by the presence of FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson), bent on bringing them to justice, as well as a tempting cache of diamonds on prominent display in a nearby cruise ship.
You can positively feel the collective strain at trying to make After the Sunset the most scintillating caper film ever. Director Brett Ratner shot it in ravishing, luxe Bahamas locations and swathed the cast in alluring wardrobes and toys. But, devoid of a clever script and truly charismatic chemistry, it plays out as one big, glossy yawn. The greatest jewel-thief film of them all, Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 masterpiece Trouble in Paradise, had, besides his gossamer direction, a sublime Samson Raphaelson script and a marvelously suggestive, teasing central relationship between Herbert Marshall and the enchanting Miriam Hopkins. After the Sunset is, simply, devoid of any like attributes.
Wooden Brosnan has never seemed more mannequin-like, and his inner torment over giving up his chosen métier rings hollow. (When he narrows those eyes, you know he’s feeling some kind of emotion.) Hayek, as always, works too hard, both at being steamily sexy and a “serious” actress. She makes her entrance in a ridiculous, too-transparent disguise as a homeless car window washer, and never quite recovers from this risibility. The sexist chauvinism of Hollywood has never been more apparent than when she straddles an all-too-obviously senior Brosnan, in her full-blown bodaciousness, rendering the query, “Who’s your Daddy?” utterly superfluous. Harrelson by this time must be heartily sick of playing the haplessly bumbling, cornpone-tinged rube he seems to be forever cast as. His character and Brosnan’s effect a drunken camaraderie that begs an awful lot of audience tolerance.
Rounding out the cast is Don Cheadle as a prominent local gangster, who has the nerve to get cause-y as he decries the island’s injustice of only allowing the natives into casinos as employees. Lurking in his cushy background are two gorgeous supermodels-as-décor: the smolderingly androgynous Omayra Vavela and the achingly luscious Noemie Lenoir. Naomie Harris gives the movie a bit of snap as—what else—a sexy local cop, who hooks up with Stan (although her island accent is a bit torturous).