Double Whammy

on January 20, 2001 by Annlee Ellingson
   Detective Ray Pluto (Denis Leary) is having a string of bad luck. His bad back goes out on him in the middle of a shooting at the Burger Bun where's he's getting his lunch. He slips and falls, knocking himself unconscious, and a six-year-old picks up his gun to save the day. Put on restrictive duty, Pluto reluctantly calls the chiropractor recommended by his partner Jerry (Steve Buscemi) and is pleasantly surprised to learn that Dr. Beamer is a hot English babe, Anne (Elizabeth Hurley).

   Back on duty and no longer having to resort to watching "Fitness Cheer" for his evening's entertainment, Pluto is thwarted again when his building super is assaulted while he's cavorting with Anne, and the headlines the following morning read, "Man stabbed while loser cop sleeps." Determined to investigate despite his boss' explicit instructions not to, he withholds vital information from the rival detective in charge and hunts down the attackers on his own.

   Peppered with mildly humorous offbeat characters--Pluto's zoot-suited screenwriter neighbors, the mathematically challenged criminals--"Double Whammy" tries too hard, forcing off-the-wall dialogue where it doesn't belong, such as Pluto's rumination on why it's okay for girls to call each other "guys" but not the other way around, a line writer-director Tom DiCillo mines for another cheap laugh later in the film. Leary's humor is perhaps too ironic for the lead in a film, so here he's mostly playing the brooding straight man. In addition, for a relatively straightforward crime story, not all of the loose ends are tied up in the end.    Starring Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley, Steve Buscemi, Chris Noth, Luis Guzman and Victor Argo. Directed and written by Tom DiCillo. Produced by Marcus Viscidi, Jim Serpico, David Kranemyer and Larry Katz. A Lions Gate release. Crime comedy. Rated R for language, violence, some sexuality and drug use. Running time: 100 min.

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