Movies

Salma Hayek, Pierce Brosnan, ...

(After the Sunset: Glen Wilson)

B-

After the Sunset

Genre: Comedy, Mystery and Thriller; Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Don Cheadle, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris; Director: Brett Ratner; Author: Craig Rosenberg, Paul Zbyszewsky; Release Date Wide: 11/12/2004; Runtime (in minutes): 93; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: New Line Cinema

Sidling into a tiki bar, Pierce Brosnan turns up his nose at all the fruity ”exotic” drinks and orders a Jack Daniel’s. ”Doesn’t have a fancy name,” he growls, ”but if it was good enough for Frank, it’s good enough for me.” I’m not sure that line would have been good enough for Frank, but Brosnan, still sexy in gray stubble, delivers it as though it was. Set in the Bahamas, After the Sunset is a fun-in-the-sun heist caper that director Brett Ratner stages as if he were the activities director of a cruise ship. He wants us to get off on the packaged trappings — the umbrella cocktails, the cavernous hotel suites, the postcard vistas — and the actors perform with such cheeky, hey-we’re-on-location! nonchalance that the movie barely musters the illusion that there’s anything at stake.

That, however, is just what’s appealing about it. As Brosnan’s Max, a diamond thief extraordinaire, ”retires” to the islands with his lover and accomplice (Salma Hayek), we know that he’s really going in for one last score, and so does Stan (Woody Harrelson), the defrocked FBI agent who has tailed him there. As the two attempt to outwit each other, even if it means crawling into the same bed, the result is a knowingly preposterous toy thriller — a sheer escape from consequence. After the Sunset is really a tropical knockoff of the 1999 Thomas Crown Affair remake, with the Rene Russo character split in two. Hayek doesn’t have much to do besides pout and doff her clothes, but she does that extremely well, and Harrelson, as Brosnan’s buddy/nemesis/stalker, turns his goofiness into a royal prank on the audience.

Originally posted November 10 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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