Fast-Paised review: ‘The Matador'

Pierce BrosnanHope DavisGreg KinnearPhilip Baker HallGolden Globe AwardsDylan Baker

Big question: A struggling businessman (Greg Kinnear) forms an unlikely friendship with an assassin (Pierce Brosnan) who's fighting a crisis of conscience. Is Brosnan's Golden Globe-nominated turn as deadly, flirtatious killer Julian Noble just a 007 retread?

Catch it: "The Matador" is charmingly off-color, and Brosnan shines as a man whose sharp tongue masks a vulnerable, lonely heart. This is an unusual, funny and sensitive buddy pic about troubled men whose perky demeanor is the cloak behind which these floundering bulls hide.

Skip it if: You're not a fan of salty expressions. A sample Julian quip: "I look like a Bangkok hooker on a Sunday morning after the navy's left town."

Bottom line: Assembling Brosnan, Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall and Dylan Baker, the decently diverting, if slight, "The Matador" seems like under-appreciated actors coming together for awhile to shoot--um, stab--the bull. It's an amusing and original comedy that skips along with the quirky, charismatic shake-shake-shake of maracas.

Bonus: Brosnan pulls a stunt no other Bond alum would attempt: strolling through a hotel lobby wearing only cowboy boots and a black Speedo.

mpais@tribune.com

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`The Matador'

Written and directed by Richard Shepard; photographed by David Tattersall; edited by Carole Kravetz-Aykanian ; production designed by Robert Pearson; music by Rolfe Kent; produced by Beau St. Clair, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Furst and Bryan Furst. A Weinstein Company release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:36. MPAA rating: R (strong sexual content and language).

Julian Noble - Pierce Brosnan

Danny Wright - Greg Kinnear

Bean Wright - Hope Davis

Mr. Randy - Philip Baker Hall

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