Smokin’ Aces

By Mark Ramsey | 2007/01/29

Yes, the makers of Smokin’ Aces are smoking something, but it sure ain’t aces.

I know this movie has something to do with contract killers, which is exactly the profession I was planning on in case this movie review thing didn’t work out. Studios respect contract killers, you see, not actors who would kill for a contract.

aces_keysgun.jpgEver have one of those friends who thinks he’s amazingly cool, but nobody else does? Well, give him three acts and a soundtrack and you have Smokin’ Aces. This mess couldn’t be more pretentious if it was smoking a hookah and reading Camus outside a North Beach coffeehouse.

Any time you hear a movie use quaint mob-talk like “clip,” “pinch,” and “snitch,” it’s time to button up a cardigan and pop a Perry Como LP on the record player. Jeremy Piven is Vegas showman Buddy “Aces” Israel, and if the phrase “Vegas showman Buddy ‘Aces’ Israel” turns you off it’s all downhill from there.

aces_reynoldsliotta.jpgThe Mafia (remember them?) is after him, so he’s in protective custody in the casino penthouse. Protective custody in a casino penthouse? What are they protecting him from, killer claustrophobia?

Hey look, it’s one-time leading man and current supporting character actor Ben Affleck! And he appears to be dressed as the lead singer of a Judas Priest tribute band! “Another flop like this and I’ll be doing infomercials for my own brand of exercise equipment,” said Affleck, with a sigh.

Out I ventured to the concession stand, where they were handing out bamboo – I needed something under my fingernails besides dehydrogenated vege-oily buttery substitute.

Smokin’ Aces takes half an hour to introduce all the characters but it took me only seconds not to care. This movie was fifteen minutes old when I realized I had been lost for ten minutes and the first five were spent looking for parking.

Most of this movie plays to the audience the way your conversation plays to a dog:

Ray Liotta: blah blah blah blah food blah blah walk

Ryan Reynolds: blah blah blah treat

Ryan, by the way, has a full beard. “I named it the ‘Katie Holmes’,” he said.

Smokin’ Aces presents the acting debut of musician Alicia Keys. What, exactly, qualifies Keys to transform from pianist to actor? And can we prevent it from being bottled and sold to Billy Joel?

Here’s the deal, Alicia Keys stays out of the theater and Ray Liotta stays off the pop charts.



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