The Mexican (2001) starring Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Bob Balaban, Michael Cerveris, David Krumholtz directed by Gore Verbinski Movie Review

The Mexican (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Brad Pitt as Jerry Welbach in The Mexican

Pitt and Roberts share a Mexican Siesta

"The Mexican" is rather a strange movie because whilst it stars Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts it's not about Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. In fact "The Mexican" is in effect two stories which do connect but you have the story of Brad Pitt's inept criminal Jerry Welbach and then there is the story of his other half Samantha played by Julia Roberts who is kidnapped by Leroy and Samantha and Leroy get on surprisingly well helping each other with relationship issues. Now for some this will be wrong, as for the most Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts don't share scenes as their stories take separate paths but for me it works. And with a quirky storyline which is full of comedy and different characters it is for the most entertaining.

Having messed up his last job for a mob boss Jerry Welbach (Brad Pitt - Meet Joe Black) is told he either goes to Mexico and pick up a rare gun or be killed. Well it's an obvious choice for Jerry except that he has promised his girl Samantha (Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich) that he will take her to Vegas and give up working for the mob. So when he tells that he is going to Mexico she doesn't take it well and throws him out. But Jerry is a rather an inept criminal and this simple task of picking up a rare gun turns into a series of catastrophes as people die, cars are stolen and Samantha who was heading for Vegas is taken hostage by a hit man called Leroy (James Gandolfini - 8mm). But then Samantha strangely gets on with Leroy who turns out be gay and together work through their various relationship issues.

Julia Roberts and James Gandolfini in The Mexican

So as already mentioned whilst Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts do play a couple, a couple who despite loving each other also spend all their time arguing, "The Mexican" is really two story paths. On one side you have the story of Jerry who thanks to his ineptness finds himself being sent down to Mexico to obtain a very special gun which has a lot of history and is said to be cursed. And as you can guess with Jerry being inept getting the gun isn't that straight forward with run ins with local trouble, deaths and a whole list of comedic problems. All of which also features comedic flashbacks as we learn about this very special gun and why so many say it is cursed as when ever it is fired someone and usually not the intended victim dies.

Then you have the Julia Roberts side of the movie as having had enough of Jerry, Samantha heads to Las Vegas but ends up being kidnapped by Leroy who also happens to be gay and a very sensitive heavy, And so this side evolves as Samantha and Leroy become friends working their way through their various personal issues as Leroy helps Samantha to understand how much she loves Jerry and Samantha helping Leroy deal with his own hang ups. But there is more to this as not only does her kidnapping interlink with Jerry's story but also contains a couple of surprisingly good twists.

Now the thing is that quite rightly "The Mexican" is billed as Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts movie but because they spend the majority of the movie as separate entities it doesn't feel like a Pitt and Roberts movie. But the irony of it is that it works by keeping them separate, Pitt gets to excel at being the flustered and inept Jerry whilst Roberts gets to show a quieter side as she shares scenes with Gandolfini. In fact if "The Mexican" had been all about Jerry and Samantha together, arguing their way through 2 hours of story it would have been painful and annoying.

And the irony is that whilst Brad Pitt is entertaining as Jerry and Julia Roberts is pleasant as Samantha it is James Gandolfini as gay hit man Leroy who steals the movie. It is such a wonderfully fascinating character this guy who looks like a hit man, acts like a hit man yet has this incredible sensitive side. Not a camp or weak sensitive side but a kindness which manifests itself and it makes Leroy so interesting and entertaining. And to be honest Gandolfini is not the only scene stealer because J.K. Simmons brings a nice touch of comedy to things which helps liven up the Brad Pitt side of the movie. Although I have to say that a surprise cameo is also a waste of one of cinemas biggest talents.

What this all boils down to is that "The Mexican" is a strange movie on so many levels. The actual story is strange, intentionally quirky and to be honest is relatively entertaining. The characters are also intentionally strange and are also surprisingly entertaining. But it just feels like there is something missing so that whilst you enjoy both sides of the story it lacks something to give it all meaning and a stronger connection.