Los Angeles Times

'A Good Night to Die'

Times Staff Writer

"A Good Night to Die" is a great movie to miss. It is the latest smudged carbon of "Pulp Fiction," mistaking sentimentality for wit and drawing from other movies rather than reality. The result is lifeless, numbskull nonsense that gets not only increasingly violent but also artier and more pretentious as it goes along.

Director Craig Singer and writer Robert Dean Klein immediately shoot themselves in the foot by asking us to accept that Ronnie (Gary Stretch), presented as a cool, suave hit man, would see a potential associate in August (Michael Rapaport), who is obnoxious, garrulous, stupid and threatening. But he does, and August proves to be a coked-up psycho with a tendency to eliminate the wrong target. This does not make mob boss Madison (Deborah Harry) very happy, yet Ronnie is willing to jeopardize his own life to protect August. Go figure.

Despite other lapses, the film might have had a chance at working were it possible to perceive that August was anything but trouble. Why would Ronnie want to hang out with August, let alone work with him? The irony is that Rapaport, intense and talented, is most persuasive in making August repellent.

Also involved is another hit team, a couple as crazy as August that call themselves Donnie and Marie (Ralph Macchio and Ally Sheedy). They are hired by another underworld kingpin (Seymour Cassel) to get rid of his tiresome wife (Lainie Kazan, genuinely funny). Robin Givens plays Ronnie's much smarter wife, and Penelope Fortier is August's seductive girl friend. "A Good Night to Die" tries hard to find professional killers as comical and touching but the effect is to invite disgust.

'A Good Night to Die'

MPAA rating: R for strong violence and sexuality, language and drug use

Times guidelines: Much killing, sexuality, language; unsuitable for children

Michael Rapaport ... August
Gary Stretch ... Ronnie
Seymour Cassel ... Guy
Robin Givens ... Dana
Deborah Harry ... Madison
Lainie Kazan ... Debra, Guy's wife

A Regent Entertainment presentation in association with A.C.H. GmbH & Medien Capital Treuhand GmbH & Co. 1 KG and My2Sentences. Director Craig Singer. Producers Chris Williams, Paul Colichman, Stephen P. Jarchow. Executive producers Jeffrey Schenck, Mark R. Harris, Gary Stretch, Andreas Hess. . Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes.

Exclusively at the Regent Showcase, 614 N. La Brea Ave., (323) 934-2944.

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