Kill Me Later

on September 14, 2001 by Michael Tunison
   As heist-gone-wrong flicks go, "Kill Me Later" doesn't exactly pull off the proverbial Big Score. Fortunately, snappy pacing and charismatic work from up-and-coming leads Selma Blair and Max Beesley help smooth over the rough patches in the second directorial effort from indie producer Dana Lustig ("Wedding Bell Blues").

   The standard lovers-on-the-lam storyline gets off to an energetic start when British thief Charlie (Beesley from the TV miniseries version of "Tom Jones") robs a bank, interfering with the plans of suicidal loan officer Shawn (Blair) to jump off the roof. With the cops hot in pursuit, the two hit on a rather unconvincing arrangement: Shawn will help Charlie escape if he'll agree to kill her afterward. A few chase scenes and opposites-attract arguments later, it's obvious the two are made for each other--if only they can only get past Charlie's desperate situation and Shawn's morose fascination with offing herself.

   Annette Goliti Gutierrez's screenplay propels the movie along in a witless, obvious way that nonetheless gets the job done provided viewers are in the proper frame of mind to accept it as a romantic-fantasy trifle, with only the most tenuous connection to reality. Shawn's reasons for staying with a fleeing felon, for example, have less to do with logic than keeping the plot going. Meanwhile, Lustig's flashy direction draws attention to itself with frequent jump-cuts and other distracting techniques--a shame since it's the film's low-budget simplicity that sets it apart from slicker, star-driven studio product of the same type.

   Speaking of stars, the filmmakers have a potential one in the making in the striking, edgy Blair ("Cruel Intentions"), who has her share of problems with the weaker dramatic scenes but is never less than compelling to watch. Starring Selma Blair, Max Beesley, Brendan Fehr, Lochlyn Munro, O'Neal Compton and D.W. Moffett. Directed by Dana Lustig. Written by Annette Goliti Gutierrez. Produced by Carole Curb Nemoy, Mike Curb, Ram Bergman and Dana Lustig. A Seventh Art release. Action/romance. Not yet rated. Running time: 89 min

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