Gun Shy [2000]

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Romance
Gun Shy had the misfortune to come along after several other "killer pursues therapy" movies/TV shows (Grosse Pointe Blank, Analyze This, The Sopranos); in this case, it's a DEA agent and not a Mafioso, but that wasn't enough to keep it from getting swept aside. Liam Neeson (Schindler's List, Rob Roy) plays Charlie, a government undercover agent whose last mission got botched, resulting in his partner's death. But the DEA isn't willing to let him get out early; clinging to his fantasy of a seaside retirement home, Charlie agrees to one more mission, even though he's convinced that the New York City gangster he's investigating will kill him. On his flight to the city, he meets a psychiatrist who encourages him to join a group therapy session. Meanwhile, it turns out that the gangster Fulvio, played by busy character actor Oliver Platt (Funny Bones, Bulworth), is equally miserable with his career. Curiously, Neeson and Platt both seem initially miscast--Neeson exudes a solid imperturbability, and Platt comes off as too soft to be really threatening--but over the course of the movie, their performances become increasingly compelling, perhaps because they are cast against type. Their neuroses, which initially seem like weak gags, start feeling genuine and sad. Gun Shy is marketed as a comedy, but its strength is in the truth of its characters. Sandra Bullock (who also produced the film) has a small role as a gastroenterologist with whom Charlie falls in love. --Bret Fetzer

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