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'A Night in Old Mexico' a waste for Robert Duvall

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Robert Duvall is wasted in a film that feels mustier than its title

The clunker "A Night in Old Mexico" is a sad state of affairs for acting legend Robert Duvall and well-regarded screenwriter Bill Wittliff ("Lonesome Dove," "Legends of the Fall," "The Perfect Storm"). This poky, clichéd, slackly told picture, directed by Emilio Aragón, would've felt dated a few decades ago; now it feels like a downright relic.

It's no surprise then to learn that Wittliff has been trying to get this script made for 25 years. Some things are best left on the shelf.

The story pairs über-cranky, 80ish Texas rancher Red Bovie (Duvall) with the college-aged Gally (Jeremy Irvine), the grandson he never knew. Gally's father (Red's son) left the family ranch 40 years ago, never to return. As movie luck would have it, Gally has shown up unannounced on Red's doorstep the very moment the ex-rodeo rider must abandon his bank-seized land.

Unwilling to live in an affordable trailer park, Red hops in his ancient red Cadillac and, with a reluctant Gally in tow, high-tails it down to "old Mexico" for some cerveza, women and song.

And that's pretty much what he gets — along with a bag of stolen cash that sends a string of gun-toters after Red and Gally. There will be fights, murders, bad behavior from gringos and locals alike, Day of the Dead doings, a revelation or two, and the requisite stab at redemption for the irascible Red.

There's also Patty (Angie Cepeda), a beautiful, F-bomb-throwing local singer-stripper drawn to Red despite the fact he's a hefty old coot with a clearly racist (or at least ignorant) streak. Their — literally — overnight romance is preposterous and embarrassing, as is so much else in this creaky, contrived tale.

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"A Night in Old Mexico"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino. Also on VOD.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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