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Wild Target


Stars: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, Eileen Atkins, Gregor Fisher, Geoff Bell

Director: Jonathan Lynn

A not-quite-as-funny British version of a 1993 French romp about a hit-man who falls for his target. Victor Maynard (Nighy) is the Clifton Webb of assassins. Fussy, punctilious and precise, he never fails to fell his victims in record time.

His sights are currently set on Rose (Blunt), a compulsive (and professional) thief whose latest wheeze involves getting a friend (Rory Kinnear) to copy a Rembrandt, then steal the real one and sell it to an art-loving gangster (Everett), switching it for the fake after the sale. Everett twigs while the fake is still damp (really?) and hires Victor to hunt Rose down.

The hit-man finds his prey an elusive target, then can't bring himself to kill her, dispatching Everett's men instead when they have her at gunpoint. Acquiring an apprentice - car-washer Tony (Grint) - they go on the run together, pursued by a new hit-man (Freeman), but much endangered by the headstrong skittishness of Rose, who steals anything in sight, and seems to have an endless supply of clothes in her small suitcase.

Blunt and Nighy play amusingly enough, although they make an unconvincing pair of lovers - only Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn could get away with an age gap this obvious - while Grint shows signs of developing into a star character actor in the best British traditions.

Freeman's slicked-over hair makes him look like Norman Wisdom, hardly lending gravitas to his status as a cold-blooded killer, while Everett and a very funny parrot disappear from proceedings all too soon. Some merry moments do keep things bubbling, but all in all this doesn't quite hit the target.

David Quinlan

UK 2009. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Jun 2010