Film — After The Sunset (R)

After The Sunset (R)

by Amy Diaz

Pierce Brosnan plays James Bond without playing James Bond and Salma Hayek flounces around in a bikini in the one-more-heist movie (it doesn’t commit enough to really be a one-last-heist movie) After the Sunset, which doubles as a really great ad for the Atlantis resort complex.

Hey, it’s Atlantis, I thought the first time I saw it. And for all that Hayek received a generous amount of curve-favoring and pout-accentuating screen time, Atlantis beat her when it comes to who got more time in the glamorizing spotlight. So glamorizing that, though I’ve only seen the hotel on television and it looks like sort of an unnecessarily Vegasy version of the Bahamas, a long weekend at Atlantis started to sound like a good idea.

Max (Brosnan) is such a clever jewel thief that he’s made taunting an FBI agent and coming up with elaborate alibis part of his elegantly executed plans. During his “last” heist, Max and girlfriend Lola (Hayek) steal a walnut-sized diamond literally from the nervous grasp of FBI agent Stan (Woody Harrelson). Not able to live with the bold way in which this criminal mastermind put one over on him (remote controlled car, a gassing, crime always looks so easy but really I’d imagine all that gadgetry doesn’t come cheap—forgo the Blackberry that can drive a car and maybe the heist is unnecessary), Stan vows to get Max. Or maybe he doesn’t, whatever. Just trying to move things along and, trust me, the plot is begging me to fill in a few holes.

Whether revenge was vowed or not, Stan does turn up in Max and Lola’s retirement paradise. The two have settled comfortably but not entirely happily into a vacation like heaven that, natch, proves a little too boring for the attention seeking Max. But hey, you’re lucky, Stan says nudgingly. Give a look-see to that ship that just cruised into port. It’s full of diamonds; betcha can’t steal them.

And, quicker than you can say double-dog-dare, Max starts mulling over the whole jewel-heist-under-the-watch-of-the-FBI brain teaser. The question gets an added dimension when a local criminal (Don Cheadle) tells Max he wants to partner on all the heisting fun. And then there’s Lola, who is having such a fun time running around being hot (and, really, if I was that hot, I’m pretty sure I’d find a way to have just being 108 pounds of irresistible take up all my time too), doesn’t really want Max to get all sticky-fingered again. After all, their getting-arrested would probably mean the end to sunsets on her kickin’ deck and that would really harsh her mellow.

After the Sunset is like the king and queen of the prom. We’re attractive, this movie says, we’re not obligated to do anything else. Ladies, how about a little Brosnan. Gentlemen, Hayek for your pleasure? And I’m sure we all can appreciate the blue blue skies, the aqua green water, the golden rays of sun—all of which combine to create a postcard sense of beauty in each scene that is almost painful to behold. Here, after all, is the very tropical Brigadoon that so entrances us while outside the world fills with snow and gray skies and cold. After the Sunset is so lovely that to leave it and reenter the outside world so jars you that you want to break down in tears of longing.

Which is nice, really. After all, this comparison crying is the only form of emotion the movie is able to create. That and the constant “damn”s whispered under your breath at all the plot-needless shots of pristine beaches and nirvana-esque hammocks in the sun. Otherwise, the movie and its no-seriously-that-again? plot (combined with the phoning-it-in-from-the-hotel-pool acting) is just a travel magazine set in motion.

- Amy Diaz 

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