Director: Jonathan Lynn Release Date: 18/06/10 After paying £900,000 for what turns out to be an incredibly convincing forgery of a Rembrandt painting, improbably psychotic art collector Ferguson (Rupert Everett) hires top-ranking assassin Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) to kill Rose (Emily Blunt), the girl who sold him the forgery, and recover whatever remains of his money. Unfortunately, instead of doing his job, Victor finds he is unable to carry out the task, and instead winds up protecting the girl from Ferguson’s hired thugs, for her sake assuming the guise of a private detective. Mixed up in all this is Tony (Rupert Grint, the pretty one from the Harry Potter movies), a cartoon moron who sort-of becomes Victor’s unofficial apprentice. There’s basically two parts to this movie. During the first, Mr Maynard tries his best to protect Rose, who quickly turns out to be dangerously uncooperative, selfish, unpleasant and ungrateful. You’re supposed to like her for her “free spiritedness”, but I couldn’t stand her and I couldn’t wait for her to get clipped so Maynard and Tony could get on with their burgeoning but tentative homosexual relationship in peace. Obviously that doesn’t happen; instead, the three check into an expensive hotel, Maynard and Tony trying to maintain a low profile, while Rose gets wasted at the bar because that’s what free spirits do. There are some minor laughs during all this, but even laying aside Rose’s inherently dislikeable character, the whole film is just so unbearably lightweight. It's undermined by the feeling that there's no real reason why Maynard can't just finish Rose off. She can't be the first pretty girl he's been sent after, and beyond that she possesses no qualities that would soften anyone's heart, least of all that of semi-legendary trained killer like Maynard. See, this is the sort of stuff you find yourself thinking about when a film isn't up to scratch – if it were better, it wouldn't matter, but it isn't, so it does. The second part of the film is a great deal longer and much, much worse. Having narrowly escaped the clutches of Ferguson’s minions, the gang make their way to Maynard’s house, where they decide to hide out for the foreseeable future. Relatively free from their pursuers (and any chance of advances in the plot), the three get to know each other better. Maynard’s stiff façade begins to crack, Rose becomes halfway civil and Tony…well, he doesn’t do much, actually. Just says a few daft things occasionally to remind the audience that this is supposed to be a comedy. Meanwhile, Ferguson has hired a much more sadistic killer called Dixon (Martin Freeman, employing his patented “drop the occasional letter t” method of playing ‘ard Londoners) to find them, but he’s so underused and his progress is so slow that there’s no real sense of danger. It’s during this sizable chunk of the movie that the film goes from inconsequential to just-plain-bad. Trying to care about the characters becomes an increasingly thankless and impossible chore. Ultimately, it’s the slow pacing and the lack of big laughs that kills it. To be fair, the cast all do their best – there’s very few out there who can play the gormless idiot as well as Rupert Grint, Bill Nighy is excellent as always and Eileen Atkins’ performance as Maynard’s overbearing mother is pretty good, although the feeling persists that that character in particular should have been much funnier – blame the writing for that. There is also a feeling that the film closely models itself on some broadly similar French comedies I’ve seen, which if I’m honest aren’t much better. Photobucket