Entrapment review

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Early this year, celebrators of cinematic shite The Golden Raspberry Academy honoured one of the more peculiar trends of Hollywood '98 - - Gidgets 'n' Geezers: The Curious `Coincidence' of Half-A-Dozen Films Co-Starring Under 30-Year-Old Women With Over-58-Year-Old-Men. Clearly hoping to improve on the duff sugardaddy couplings of Douglas and Paltrow and Ford and Heche, Entrapment dares to team Sean Connery (68) with Catherine Zeta Jones (29) as two master-filchers who fall in lurve in between jobs. So, sizzle or drizzle? Most definitely the latter.

One American reviewer rather cruelly attributed the chemistry between Connery and Jones to Viagra, and as Connery grunts his approval of Zeta Jones' coconut-bum for the dillionth time, it's hard not to disagree. Much has been made of the former Bond's malt-whisky sex appeal (it improves with age), but that alone simply isn't enough to justify why Zeta Jones should fall for him.

And while the unlikely duo hog the screen, the supporting cast suffers. Ving Rhames switches to bad-ass autopilot, Will Patton drags out the same suited-sleazeball schtick he's peddled since '87's No Way Out while Maury Chaykin's grotesque, pot-bellied, crime overlord (think Jabba the Hutt in flip-flops) is so vague and underwritten that it's less a performance, more a Post-It note.

Unfortunately, the action is equally tepid. As with all the most effective crime capers, the secret to a good heist is in the set-up and the duo's first job promises much. Successfully milking the anticipation and intrigue, the deliberately cryptic training sequence, featuring swimming lessons, chewing gum and synchronised wool-limboing, makes for an effective build-up to the robbery itself - - the pilfering of a Chinese mask protected by a tangled mesh of motion-sensitive lasers.

Tense and tight, it's everything the second, climactic heist isn't. With the preparation amounting to the laughably lo-fi sight of Connery squeaking a jumbo marker over a map of the Petronas Towers, there's zilcho for the audience to bank on. Instead, the script lazily conjures up a string of half-arsed obstacles, giving the duo an excuse to drag out some ludicrous gadgets that look like they've been mail-ordered from QVC's Burglar Hour and, worse still, two-step over some trip-wires in a lame rip-off of Hudson Hawk's Swinging On A Star sequence.

So far, so anti-climactic, but the movie dips into its deepest trough when the couple finally steal $8 billion dollars... from a PC. Okay, it's in keeping with the plot's millennial countdown spin, but switching a couple of wires and slipping in a disc hardly constitutes a thrill-a-minute robbery. Fact is, computer crime is about as cinematic as a screensaver.

Polished and vacuous, Entrapment's mediocre thrills ultimately amount to little more than a feature-length remake of the Milk Tray adverts.

""You're too old for this shit"," Connery's told, and for once we're inclined to agree. Struggling against clunky direlogue, nonsensical plot twists and bland direction, the two stars are wasted in a glossy but sloppy thriller. Mildly diverting at best.

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The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.