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Gun Shy Review

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After a close call with death, DEA agent Mayough is sick to the stomach, literally, with undercover work. However, he is stuck in the middle of a dangerous deal with volatile mobster Fulvio Nesstra, with only Pepto-Bismol, group therapy and a nurse to get him through...

★★★★★

Could there be anything funnier than seeing a formerly powerful alpha male cut off at the knees? If you're talking about the public humiliation of Jeffrey Archer then the answer is, obviously, no. However, if you're talking about this belated entry into the mobster-in-therapy sub genre, then the answer is a resounding yes.

This is a film about male anxiety. Liam Neeson's DEA agent has job anxiety, chiefly expressed as gastro-intestinal problems. Platt's badly connected mobster has self-worth issues, made manifest in short, sharp bursts of (comedy) violence. There are others - an entire therapy group of troubled males, in fact - but the most anxious person here is first-time writer/director Eric Blakeney. He is anxious to make a good impression, anxious to be heard, and oh-so-anxious to please everybody.

Crippled under the weight of its own ambition, Gun Shy cannot sit still long enough to settle upon a genre, never mind allow its talented cast space to breathe. Under a steadier hand, it could have been an articulate, witty character piece; in another mood it could have worked as a densely-plotted mobster caper; and, at a stretch, the relationship between Neeson and Bullock's angelic nurse could have provided the germ for a decent romantic comedy. What Gun Shy categorically could not be is all three. Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell Blakeney that.

So what do we get? Occasional sparks between Neeson and Platt; an endlessly twisting farce which succeeds only in tying itself up in knots; and a woeful romantic sub-plot. Producer Bullock, meanwhile, beefs up the star power by assaying a cameo which simply isn't there. You could argue she is underused, you could argue she is superfluous, but one thing is certain: in a film of pointless bangs, she fires the biggest blank.

Deadpan delivery, violent slapstick and moments of comic invention will all raise a smile. But it labours far too hard, and resolutely refuses to make sense. A definite misfire.