GUN SHY (2017)
Director: Simon West
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura, Mark Valley, Aisling Loftus, Martin Dingle Wall
MPAA Rating: (for language, some sexual content/nudity and drug material)
Running Time: 1:31
Release Date: 9/8/17 (limited)
Review by Mark Dujsik | September 7, 2017
Twice in Gun Shy, a man is bitten on the penis by a venomous snake. They're two different men, and there are two different snakes. We know the snakes aren't the same, because the movie helpfully informs us that the first snake dies of alcohol poisoning. See, the first set of genitals belongs to a hard-drinking rock star who's past his prime and now, without any career pressure, appears only to drink. This information seems like the only reasonable way to introduce this movie, in which the low-clearance height of its cleverness is to have a venomous snake die of alcohol poisoning, while the depth of its laziness is to repeat the joke of a guy getting bit on the genitals by a snake.
Is any further description or analysis of the movie really necessary beyond this point? If you've read the first paragraph and still have some interest in the movie (either sincerely, because you're wondering about it, or out of stunned curiosity, because of what I've just described), then, I suppose further details are required.
A game but wasted Antonio Banderas plays the washed-up rock star, named Turk Henry, who was part of a hair-metal band in the 1980s. Turk left the group because he and his supermodel wife Sheila (Olga Kurylenko) decided to get clean—her from drugs and him from a sex addiction—after meeting in rehab. The band went on to success after his departure, and the somewhat resentful Turk is only left with a legacy that's highlight by the hit song "Teenage Ass Patrol." That title sounds funny on the face of it, until one takes a second moment to consider its gross implications.
Anyway, Sheila wants to take a trip to Turk's native Chile, although he denies his origin for reasons that are never specified. He insists he's British, even though no one would buy it with his accent, which is nowhere near British, despite, apparently, growing up in the U.K., and this line of thought should stop here, before the little details make the movie seem even worse than it already is.
Turk spends his time on the beach, with a local boy tossing him cans of beer whether Turk wants them or not (He always wants them), and Sheila takes a day trip to see some llamas in the mountains. While on the trek, she and her fellow llama-seekers (including an ugly-minded American couple who end up accidentally shooting each other in the head, because that's apparently funny) are abducted by a group of local, wannabe pirates led by Juan Carlos (Ben Cura). The group demands $1,000,000 in ransom, which Turk is more than relieved, happy, and able to pay.
Instead of an easy resolution, of course, the screenplay by Mark Haskell Smith and Toby Davies (adapting Smith's novel Salty) piles on the complications. Most of them result from the actions of Ben Harding (Mark Valley), an agent at the U.S. embassy who labels the pirates terrorists and tries to stop Turk from paying the ransom, somehow thinking that his stubbornness will land him a job in D.C.
The movie might be the first to directly acknowledge our current President (Two pictures of him decorate the agent's desk), which is somewhat noteworthy. Harding, one supposes, is the movie's reaction to that fact. The character is a loud-mouthed, angry, and incompetent guy who keeps getting in his own way while trying to look tough. In other words, it's somehow both the right reaction and, from a comic perspective, the laziest possible one.
There's a lot more, such as an openly misogynistic private negotiator (played by Martin Dingle Wall), who arrives to help get the money to the pirates, and Marybeth (Aisling Loftus), the assistant of Turk's agent. She's the only one with a brain in her head, apparently. The thanks she gets for that quality is existing in the movie solely so that the negotiator can repeatedly and lecherously comment on her physical appearance, before apologizing for being so sexist (and insisting—read, lying—that he's working on it).
Director Simon West tries for a manic energy and an anything-goes attitude, since, in addition to the snake bites, the movie also includes Turk riding a suitcase down a street and a man being strangled by an octopus. There's desperation for laughs, and then there's the wild, frantic grasping of Gun Shy.
Copyright © 2017 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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