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Not Even An Aaron Sorkin Re-Write Can Give This Film An 'Excess' Of Wit Or Energy
on January 23, 2011
Emily Hope (Alicia Silverstone) is a ritch bi%h desperate to get her father's attention. Too bad dad's a shady businessman who cares more about making millions illegally than he does about his own daughter. But one day Emily comes up with a plan that she hopes will change all that. She's going to fake her own kidnapping, demand a million dollar ransom and then be reunited with her father on live TV. Dad's image needs a makeover since he's under investigation by the SEC. Trouble is, on the way to her fake kidnapping, Emily gets kidnapped for real by a car thief named Vincent (Benicio Del Toro). Now Vincent doesn't know he's kidnapped her and it's not till after he gets the car to his shop that he makes the startling discovery. She thinks he's one of her father's goons. He thinks she's crazy. The two spar verbally and physically until Vincent's partner (Harry Connick, Jr.) shows up to try and calm the situation down. Turns out him and Vincent owe a mobster named Dokus some serious cash that they don't have, so they figure they'll use Emily as a bargaining chip to try and squeeze some more money out of her old man. Problem is he could care less. He doesn't believe for a second his daughter has been kidnapped and just figures she's trying to get more money out of him. Thankfully her uncle Ray (Christopher Walken) swoops in to try and get her back. And so begins a quasi-Into The Night movie as Vincent and Emily make their way to Vincent's cabin to try to figure out what to do while being pursued by both Ray and a couple of dim-witted mobsters (Nicholas Turturro, Michael Bowen).
Inevitably Vincent and Emily fall for each other and inevitably their love is tested when Ray eventually catches up to them. Nothing in the film is very original or all that exciting for that matter, but it still has a strange charm all its own. While not everything works - the pace often lags and the plot is still a mess even with the Aaron Sorkin re-writes - enough stuff does to make this movie enjoyable. Silverstone is great to look at but painful to listen to. Del Toro really channels his idol Brando delivering a mumbling, brooding - and I guess to the ladies - irresistible performance. Connick, Jr. is very smooth and funny in his supporting role. And then, of course, there's Walken. He delivers one of his trademark oddball performances. His uncle Ray is slightly goofy yet slightly scary as well. You don't get more twisted and eccentric than his scenes with not only Del Toro, but with Sally Kirkland as well. It's no surprise that Walken has most of the film's best lines. The direction by Marco Brambilla - he of 'Demolition Man' - is slick making everything look cool and stylish. 'Excess Baggage' is a movie that defines the term "sleeper hit". It will either put you to sleep with its slow pace and confusing plot twists or it will make a fan out of you thanks to its quirky charms. Either way it's worth trying out.