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Plan B

22 Nov

Plan B –– directed by Greg Vaitanes –– broad gangster-comedy in which an ordinary woman is forced to be a mob assassin –– 96 minutes color 2002.

* * * * *

A good example of an actress destroying a film. First, Diane Keaton should never be allowed to choose her own wardrobe for a movie. In this one she starts as awoman roped into being a hit-lady, and her clothes are fairly nondescript. But Keaton refuses to play a drab woman –– ever –– and it’s a mistake, for she is essentially a master of her craft and a great comedienne. So presently she tosses on an Annie Hall rig that Chaplinifies the part on the one hand, that has nothing to do with the character on the other hand, and, on the third hand, disguises a third of her face and often her eyes with the brim of a bowler and various glasses. The wreckage of her attempt to make her quirky and endearing might be corrected had her performance been gauged to fit the story, but she allows her character to become broader, less confident, and more physically improbable as she gains experience with her new job, instead of less foolish, less frantic, and more contained as she gained experience with her various hand guns. Thus the comedy of character, which this performance needed to be, might have emerged from her nervous realization that she was becoming more like the mobster she was being asked to be. Very well written by Lisa Lutz, beautifully filmed by John Peters, with a superb sound track by Brian Tyler, and great set decoration by Debbie de Villa, and, for the most part, directed with such perfect visual pitch by Greg Vaitanes that at times we seem to be looking at Danny Kaye comedy directed by Kurosawa. A magnificent supporting cast carries the comic load of this film —  whose first third is top drawer until Keaton dresses up in male clothing –– Paul Sorvino, Bob Balaban, Maury Chaykin, Burt Young, John Ventimiglia, Nick Sandow, Natasha Lyonne, and an Oscar to Anthony de Sando, as the Jerry Lewis-moronic thug, who supplies invention upon invention always in character and always funny — a great actor and a jewel of a performance.

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