Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Is Cletis Tout? (2000)

Who Is Cletis Tout? Who Cares?

- Who is Cletis Tout? After the first 20 minutes of the film, the viewer has already lost interest in the question.

Chris Ver Wiel's Who Is Cletis Tout? (2000) is weak in just about every way with little to save it from cinematic purgatory. The story lacks intelligence of any form: an escaped criminal with a cockamamie scheme, Trevor Finch (Christian Slater), takes on the identity of Cletis Tout, a dude who is wanted by the mob. Lucky for him the mobsters are inept, the police do not investigate until it is too late, and the dangerous professional hit man cares more about a "good story" than getting paid. The film is no doubt going for some form of quirkiness but it is also clear that they are going for a serious meaningful angel as well - and neither works in the end.

While the general story is dumb, the dialogue and individual scenes are just as bad, complete with lame attempts at lines and moments of the heartfelt or dark variety. The look and feel of the film suffers along with the script, with Ver Wiel's lazy direction and the low-end lighting. To add insult to injury, Randy Edelman's score is incredibly cheesy and does not even fit the film very well.

Most of the cast do not exactly end up hitting the mark either. Christian Slater is a pretty good lead as Finch/Tout , managing to make the character likable, and Billy Connolly makes an enjoyable appearance as well. However, Portia de Rossi is as cute as a button but gives a dull performance, RuPaul is just gross, Richard Dreyfuss is useless, and it seems as if almost every actor playing a minor character has never acted before.

I was hoping that this film would be Tim Allen's shining moment, branching out form his comedic roots to play quirky hit man Critical Jim. Well, Allen does play a hit man - but only in a marginally convincing way. He has the right attitude but the wrong delivery - when Allen is acting with body language he is great; but when he opens his mouth he manages to overdo the already trite dialogue even further. You very much want Allen to be good - and he is so close - but he does not quite nail it.

Who Is Cletis Tout?, with its bad script, look, and majority of featured performances, is just about good enough to make a great feature for "Movie and a Makeover."

CBC Rating: 4/10

No comments: