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if you haven't plunked down your hard-earned money yet for " wild wild west , " the latest summer holiday offering from will smith , let me say right now that your money will be better spent on a starbuck's frappacino or on a ben & jerry's sundae .
these treats are great relief from the summer heat .
in contrast , this film made me simmer in disappointment .
i can accept the fact that summer movies tend to put more weight into special effects and that good stories and flavorful characters usually take a back seat .
this was true of star wars episode i , but at least in that film , the story and the characters were still in the back seat .
in this film , they are no where to be found .
what remains are hundreds of male extras costumed as gunslingers and foppish aristocrats , lots of female extras who look like can-can dancers , and a clunky , 80-foot tall instrument of destruction that resembles a mechanical tarantula .
two men are asked to stop this threat .
one is artemus gordon ( kevin kline ) , an inventor who uses his intellect and array of disguises to best his opponents .
among his creations are false breasts and the bulletproof vest .
the other man is jim west ( will smith ) , who prefers the shoot-first-then-shoot-some-more method of investigating .
although their individual talents must be combined to achieve success , their interaction with one another merely seemed like a second rate , two-man vaudevillian act .
for example , there is a scene where west , being more debonair than the reserved gordon , notes that the fake breasts should be filled with water rather than buckwheat , which is what it is currently filled with .
" now touch my breast , " west says .
gordon does so and then softly coos his approval .
i found myself groaning at this kind of silliness .
the script fails to generate any sense of drama , humor , or fun for that matter .
i did enjoy kline's reserved performance , but was surprised at how much latitude they gave to smith .
could it be that will smith is just so bankable that he's not even required to act ?
it was as if the director was yelling " will smith , do your own thing . . . and
action ! "
here's an example .
in this scene , will smith is about to be hanged by a group of angry white people .
he must endear himself to the crowd to escape .
the director yells , " will smith , do your own thing . . . and
action ! "
in another scene , he has to masquerade as a belly dancer in order to save his comrades .
" will smith , do your own thing . . . and
action ! "
worse still , the final battle scene aboard the mechanical tarantula is a horrid mess .
there are cogs spinning and pulleys pulling and levers going up and down everywhere you look .
there's actually a lot of imagination at work in this film .
there are some genuinely clever inventions and gizmos introduced , but all of this imagination is wasted in a film that is visually cluttered and dramatically flat .
and that's too bad because if there was more focus on the story rather than will smith just doing his 'thing , ' this film might have been palatable .
as it turns out , " wild wild west " is the wild , wild worst and receives my vote for biggest disappointment of the year .