You Kill Me (R)

Comedy 90 July 13, 2007
By Scott Foundas
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Montana-born director John Dahl made a name for himself with a series of nifty, darkly comic neo-noirs with hardboiled titles such as Kill Me Again, Red Rock West, and The Last Seduction. The past decade has been less kind to Dahl, who has foundered with a series of bigger-budget studio assignments and only sporadically (as in 2001’s Joy Ride) shown signs of his old B-movie mojo. Called You Kill Me, Dahl’s latest has the outward appearance of a return to form but may be the worst thing he’s ever done. It's an inert, tone-deaf mélange of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under about an alcoholic assassin (Ben Kingsley) in the New York Polish mafia who becomes a better man (and a better hit man) by joining AA and going to work in a San Francisco mortuary. The script supposedly kicked around Hollywood for years before attracting Sir Ben’s interest, and its age shows in the torrent of rimshot-worthy gay and Polack jokes, the gay-but-not-gay-seeming AA sponsor (Luke Wilson), and the submissive love interest (Téa Leoni, a far cry from Dahl’s usual steely dames) who doesn’t mind that Kingsley is a killer as long as he’s not, you know, gay.
John Dahl Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni, Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, Philip Baker Hall, Bill Pullman, Marcus Thomas, Scott Heindl, Lorraine James, Devin McCracken Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus Jonathan Dana IFC Films