That is the extent of Brad Pitt's character Jerry's knowledge of Spanish, and he does not even know what that means, yet he is stuck in Mexico trying to find a valuable pistol. Meanwhile, up in the States, his girlfriend Sam, played by Julia Roberts, has been abducted by a hit man to ensure the safe return of the pistol. Somewhere down the line, they both realize they love each other.
What we get in The Mexican is basically two co-existing storylines, one about a clumsy, good-hearted crook trying to complete one last job, and the other about his sort of ex-girlfriend dealing with being a hostage, but more learning about just how much she loves her man, since the hit man who is watching over her seems to know a thing or two about relationships. What we get is a fairly funny film that uses several forms of comedy to win over its audience.
Brad Pitt plays his role perfectly. His character is good-hearted, but he also does not want to die, so he wants to complete his mission. He is also not the brightest guy in the world, so being stuck in a foreign country without knowing the language provides for some good entertainment. What is best about Pitt in The Mexican is his facial expressions, by far. He almost looks like a lost boy, at times, which is exactly what he is.
His storyline weaves back and forth with some twists and turns along the way, but nothing so great that you'll consider this a good crime caper. At the base of the movie is a comedy, and the story remembers that the entire time, as every 'twist' is not as important to the plot as it is to the entertainment value. In fact, The Mexican reminds me of a toned down version of Snatch, which also co-starred Brad Pitt, only the comedy is more subtle, the filming is more Hollywood-ized, and the plot less back and forth.
Meanwhile, we get a slightly more genuine comedy out of the Julia Roberts storyline, since there is more sophisticated dialogue. The hit man who kidnaps her turns out to be very knowing in the relationship department, and while he keeps her moving, he talks to her about her crazy relationship with a boyfriend. Roberts does a good job as Sam, but at the same time, if I were Jerry, I'd blow her head off. Sam absolutely loves Jerry yet she shouts at him constantly, like some woman on "The Jerry Springer Show." The hit man coerces her into realizing that she really can't live without him, but The Mexican never deals with why Brad Pitt is with her. Pitt is so compromising and nice that it is hard to imagine him loving this bickering woman.
Strangely, the hit man is the best character of the movie. James Gandolfini stars as Leroy, a man who is deeper than both Pitt and Roberts combined. He has a background and he has some relationship problems of his own, and the movie explores those a little bit. He is also a pretty funny guy.
As mentioned earlier, the comedy is fairly subtle. I laughed quite a bit throughout the film, but there really is no peak of funny scenes. The comedy is really played scene by scene, since some scenes are funny and some scenes are not, even if they are supposed to be. The scenes near the beginning of the film are extremely dull, but everything picks up as the film moves along. By the time The Mexican moves into its last half hour, I was pretty pleased.
The film then slows down quite a bit as it becomes involved with the plot. There is a lot of back and forth action here and just when you think it is going to end, one last thing pops up which adds another ten minutes. For the most part, The Mexican lags during this time period, not because the scenes are dull but because we have been watching similar stuff for the last hour and a half, and it is just now getting boring. A little toning on the ending would have been nice.
The Mexican is a decently funny movie. If you like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts, you should see this. If you like comedies, you should see this. But will I see this one more than once? I doubt it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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