Excess Baggage review

Haphazardly slapped together by Marco Brambilla, the ex-video director who made Stallone's Demolition Man, Excess Baggage is an erratically-paced mixed bag.

Alicia Silverstone compounds the act of gruesome career-suicide she began in the execrable Batman & Robin. Her spunky heroine is supposed to come across as smart, sexy and kooky. Instead she's a mewling, wonky-mouthed prep school whinger, light years away from her finest hour in Clueless.

Coupled with Brambilla's seemingly random direction and an illogical script which doesn't even bother to provide the film with a proper ending, Alicia's glossy-lipped gurning threatens to bury Excess Baggage under a botched vanity project tombstone. But then, just as narcolepsy beckons, the proceedings are enlivened by a pair of top quality supporting leads.

Christopher Walken's Uncle Ray is yet another run-through of his unsettling-master-of-menace routine, coming across as a black-suited, magnum-wielding deus ex machina, who bails Emily out with his cold-eyed, eccentrically-phrased threats of violence. It isn't anything he hasn't done a million times before, but he remains American cinema's most watchable psychopath. Benicio Del Toro is even more fun, proving that his unique body language and vowel-strangling delivery weren't just a bizarre one-off for The Usual Suspects. His weirdly effeminate persona makes him a strange bedfellow for the achingly-bland Silverstone.

Yet despite these great contributions, Excess Baggage remains an inconsistent star vehicle. Silverstone needs a better calibre of behind-the-camera collaborator if she's to parlay her MTV popularity into a film career with legs.

Worth seeing (perhaps) for Walken and Del Toro's outrageous scene-stealing, but the real excess baggage in this dull kidnapping /mismatched love affair is, sadly, Silverstone herself.

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