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Double Whammy (2001)

Bad Luck

Bad luck. Bad attitude. Bad back.

Directed by:

Tom DiCillo

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 100 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

The down-on-his-luck Detective Ray Pluto (Denis Leary) just can’t seem to get anything right. Take his lunch-break trip to a local generic burger joint, for example. He’s in the process of putting in his order when the place is held-up by a gun-wielding maniac. So you might think it a good job there’s a cop on the premises. And you’d be right – if it wasn’t for him being struck by a crippling back spasm and dropping his gun, that is. To make matters worse, a nearby ginger kid (Kevin Olson) picks up the gun, shoots the crim at point blank range and saves the day. Cue media hero worship for the meddling youngster, and a new nickname – “Loser Cop” – for poor old Ray.

The good news is, the ensuing time off gives our bungling ‘tec plenty of time to put the moves on frighteningly-physical chiropractor Liz Hurley, and do a bit of off-the-record sleuthing while he’s at it. You see, the caretaker at his building (Luis Guzman) gets stabbed and, quite rightly, ol’ Ray smells a rat. Foul play is very much a-foot.

Writer-director Tom DiCillo has a distinctly weird and wacky approach, even at times when there’s nothing particularly outlandish about the subject matter – and it makes this film surprisingly memorable. Outrageously bright colours are the order of the day in practically every shot, and the screenplay contains some cracking jokes that had this reviewer cackling out loud on more than one occasion.

It’s just a pity the climax doesn’t really live up to what’s gone before it, and clumsily leaves a few loose ends undealt with. There are also some bizarre switches between quirky comedy and sudden outbursts of fairly graphic violence, which might leave you a little confused as to what the overall tone of the flick is really supposed to be. But this is definitely a film that’s worth a look, if not for the plot or the acting (bear in mind Hurley’s in this one) then certainly for the dialogue and the humour. Give it a go.

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It's Got: A knife-wielding baddie (Otto Sanchez) who makes a valiant attempt at trying to look scary whilst wearing what appears to be a lady’s crop-top.

It Needs: To be a bit more consistent.

DVD Extras A knife-wielding baddie (Otto Sanchez) who makes a valiant attempt at trying to look scary whilst wearing what appears to be a lady’s crop-top. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Box of Moon Light, Living in Oblivion, The Real Blonde (all also written and directed by DiCillo).

Summary

Refreshingly innovative treatment of a pretty bog-standard story – it’s considerably better than its straight-to-DVD UK release would suggest.

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