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Wild Target (2010)

In a game of cat and mouse they're hot on her tail!

Directed by:

Jonathan Lynn

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

Country: France, United Kingdom

Three main things made Wild Target look like it was going to be an excrutiating watch – the trailers are full of the cheesiest comedy of an unremarkable and slightly infuriating sort, the tell-tale use of an exclamation mark in the tagline and the billing of asexual Rupert Grint (Harry Potter’s very ginger sidekick) with an attempt at a beard that’s put to shame by my Grandma’s whiskers. But somehow, against the odds, Wild Target manages to be a likeable, consistently funny British thriller.

Middle-aged Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) – a neat-freak and a very successful assassin – is hired to take out kleptomaniac beauty Rose (Blunt) who’s gotten on the wrong side of posh gangster Ferguson (Everett) and his useless goon (Fisher). Victor lets his emotions get the better of him and not only does he refuse to kill Rose, he also saves her from another assasination attempt and goes on the run with her and a young lad called Tony (Grint) just tagging along just for the giggles.

WIld Target is actually a quirky romantic, comedy thriller with lashings of irony and uncomprimising humour. It is intelligent and never underestimates it’s young teenage audience with obvious and subtle background jokes throughout. This Britcom isn’t for every one as the humour may fall flat with the average American – God bless their pure, unsarcastic souls – but it will be charming enough for most even if will never be considered a great film.

The assembled cast is an impressively, eclectic mix of British talent. Emily Blunt adds another string to her bow, Rupert Everett proves to be a poor man’s Mark Strong, likeable Tim Freeman from The Office somehow manages to be menacing, Bill Nighy is as swarthy as ever and even Rab C. Nesbitt turns up. On the whole, they inject a quality into scenes that could have been very mediocre without their star turns. Refreshingly, Jonathan Lynn refuses to sell out by not include the usual token, washed-upon American C-Lister to help the movie appeal to the yankee market.

On the flip side, the lovestory is pretty undercooked and very obvious from the start. No matter how hard they try to show why Rose would fall for Victor, I just couldn’t stop myself disbelieving the premise but but luckily we are saved from the fate of watching Bill Nighy’s wrinkly backside going like the wind by some merciful editing.  Also Lynn touches on some bigger issues – like Victor being gay for all of ten seconds – but never quite follows it through which makes the forays of this nature quite pointless.

It's Got: Both obvious and subtle jokes, an impressive British cast, Bill Nighy necking Emily Blunt - really?

It Needs: Needs to explore some of the issues only touched upon.

Alternatives:

A Fish Called Wanda, Assassins, Kick-Ass

Summary

As quintessentially British as tea and scones, binge drinking, and teenage pregnancy. This comedy thriller is pretty lightweight but packed full of subtle irony and sarcastic humour.

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