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Thick As Thieves
cast: Alec Baldwin, Rebecca De Mornay, Michael Jai White, and Andre Braugher

director: Scott Sanders

91 minutes (18) 2000
Alliance Atlantis VHS rental

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Steven Hampton
An intriguing and engaging but ultimately shallow revenge drama, Thick As Thieves plays entirely too much like one of those interminable Elmore Leonard adaptations (it's actually based on a novel by Patrick Quinn) that have plagued our screens of late, and not one of the better ones, either. Alec Baldwin is a professional thief who gets grassed to crooked cops by his onetime partners in crime after completing a job in Detroit. The narrative switches back and forth between Miami and Motown, where busy restaurateur Pointy Williams (played as style-obsessed black dude by Michael Jai White) is being investigated by homicide detective, Rebecca De Mornay, who's searching for the thief.
   With bloody trails left by desperate cop-killer Baldwin, and gangsters of questionable competence (including the excellent Andre Braugher from the TV series, Homicide), it eventually becomes clear that things will have to be settled 'the Chicago way.' Baldwin, though, is out for vengeance after goons shoot his beloved pet in an attack on his motel room. What makes this work, in the few scenes that are watchable, anyway, is the agreeable attention to character. All have a quirk or two - Baldwin loves trad jazz, while the elderly mafia boss just wants to retire in peace - but these do tend to define their characters rather than simply being a part of what makes them individuals. And so we get the faintly ridiculous scenes of Baldwin cleaning his dog's teeth, and Baldwin finding tiny scratches (between tracks!) on vinyl albums just to save money at the record store. Fine comic moments, sure, but these traits and others like them reduce the film to a series of funny sketches and bleed the main plot to death.

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