Liam Neeson stars in this movie released in the year 2000 and shines in this rare comedic role. He plays Charlie, a man martyred by stress and ground down by worry. He’s an undercover cop who is desperate to do the best he possibly can and during the course of the story meets and falls for a new woman in his life, one who finally understands him and knows what has to be done to free him from his demons.
Oddly, Disney marketed the movie as a Sandra bullock vehicle, which it isn’t, though she excels in the role of Judy, she doesn’t appear for very long, the film really belongs to Neeson. Erik Blakeney, both writer and director, cast the movie with great skill. Backing up the heavy hitters Neeson and Bullock is Oliver Platt as a gangster with his own problems, most of them to do with his marriage and like Neeson, clearly relishes the chance to do comedy. Jose Zuniga is incredibly watchable and rather touching as a closet gay drug baron. The characters are what the movie is all about and none of them are two dimensional ciphers.
The highlight is the group therapy session which Charlie attends, funny and moving at the same time, a difficult balance to strike but one which Blakeney manages very well. Particularly good, and very complimentary to the direction is the editing, especially in the opening scene. The dialogue also is a joy to listen to and will frequently have you cracking up, though not in the way that Charlie does with his constant panic attacks.
The soundtrack is well chosen also, featuring the inestimably brilliant Tom Waits which is always a good sign for any movie. The script is pacey and clear, allowing the characters to breathe, a sure sign of a great writer. When the movie was released, it vanished off the face of the earth, largely due to bad marketing and the decision to profile Bullock as the star, so this is a great chance to catch up with a film that really deserves a much wider audience.
Director: Eric Blakeney
Writer: Eric Blakeney
Stars: Liam Neeson, Sandra Bullock and Oliver Platt
Release Date: 6 October 2000 (UK)