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Excess Baggage Review

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A poor little rich brat pulls every stunt imaginable to get attention, but when she locks herself in the trunk of her car, which is then stolen by a thief, she finds more attention than she bargained for.

★★★★

Orchestrating a bogus kidnapping and ransom demand to fleece her cold businessman father for $1 million and hopefully stir up some long absent paternal instincts, rich kid Emily T. Hope (Silverstone) winds herself in duct tape and awaits rescue from the boot of her own flash BMW. Which is nicked before the law can arrive by pro car thief Vincent (Del Toro) who swipes swank motors with nefarious car-dealer partner Harry Connick Jr.

Back at his warehouse, Vincent discovers the boot holds more than just a tyre iron, does his best to dump the -hey! - excess baggage, but fails. Then it's larks aplenty as - fleeing the police, the client's heavies, and Emily's "uncle" Ray (Walken, as a soft-talking, hard-walking ex-CIA assassin) - our mismatched duo begin to forge an unlikely affection.

Silverstone's trademark girly grin and coquettishness are both overused and Del Toro's accent veers alarmingly from Brad Pitt to a punch-drunk Rocky for no apparent reason. However, it is probably the screenplay that is most at fault, and while Demolition Man director Brambilla again makes things look okay, his hands are tied with flat dialogue, zero comedy and not much caper, either.

Walken offers the only relief with a performance that - as ever - is quintessentially Walken, but this is clear evidence of the inherent danger in instantly empowering performers with their own production outfit. It's Silverstone's First Kiss Productions opening gambit and, frankly, it's garbage.

Hanging an entire movie on the slender shoulders of Alicia Silverstone may have worked well enough for Clueless, but screen comedy will only ever be as good as its script, and while Clueless was armed with sharp satire, this is about as cutting edge as a bag of King Edwards.

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