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Wild Target Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 18 June 2010 20:00
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman
Certificate: 12A

Victor Maynard (Nighy) is an assassin. Well-dressed, efficient and completely ruthless, Maynard's a killer of the truly old school. But when he's hired to hit art thief and con artist Rose (Blunt), Maynard blunders the job and ends up having a change of heart: he hits her in an altogether different way. Ahem. Into the strange screwball scenario wanders Tony (Grint), a young guy who quickly graduates from potential witness to hitman's apprentice. You can tell he's got talent for bumping off people: he's got stubble.

Yes, this is one of those roles Rupert Grint has taken on to prove he's not Ron Weasley. And so the redhead walks about looking a lot like that guy out of Harry Potter, carrying a gun, pulling strange faces and occasionally whimpering in the Weasley style. It's a bit of a waste of Grint's talents, to be honest. He's brave enough to get naked for one scene but you can soon forget his superfluous character, what with Emily Blunt and Bill Nighy firing on all cylinders.

There is some chemistry between the vomit-worthy couple, a testament to the actors' comic timing given the lazy screenplay - have you seen A Fish Called Wanda? Lucinda Coxon has. But as silly as the farcical action gets (and it doesn't get that silly, it's closer to non-existent really), the cast keep coming back for more. Throughout it all, Nighy remains typically deadpan, moustache bristling and eyebrows raised, always with that glint in his eye. That's how you know he's enjoying himself. Or he's getting paid a lot of money.

Meanwhile Blunt, whose sex appeal has never been more obvious, turns the foxiness way up as she bawls into shrink-wrapped furniture and tricks Rupert Everett out of 900 grand. When she's on screen it's hard to look anywhere else. A Mini Cooper car chase? A barmy shotgun-wielding mother? Emily's charisma eclipses the workmanlike tone of this British comedy (a remake of a French film you suspect is probably much better). Things are helped along by Martin Freeman's demented cameo as Maynard's rival hitman, Dixon, all smiles and sadistic murders. But this is Nighy's show - give the man a gun and a suit and he could pretty much carry along any movie. No matter how unoriginal Jonathan Lynn's direction is.


Nice cast, shame about the screenplay. Wild Target is an average hit, but Nighy's aim is as sharp as ever. Worryingly enjoyable.


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