(Air Date: Week Of 2/5/97)
The way that critics pounced on "Coldblooded", I thought its filmmakers were trying to produce a snuff film or plagiarize "Pulp Fiction" or both. That's until I actually sat down and watched this low-key satire. Clearly, its original audiences didn't appreciate first-time director Wallace Wolodarsky's sense of humor at all, but I did.
Jason Priestley is Cosmo Reif, the bookie of a mobster named Gordon (played by Robert Loggia). When Gordon needs a new hit man, he thinks first of Cosmo, even though he doesn't have any experience. That's alright, Steve, the other hit man, will train him. Peter Riegert, one of the great character actors of his generation, is so memorable as Steve that he steals every scene he's in, even when Wolodarsky didn't write them to favor him. Steve hates his job, he drinks alone and cries alone, then wakes up with a hangover and goes to work. Cosmo doesn't much like the job, either, but finds that he's surprisingly good at it. Instead of crying and drinking, he joins a health club and falls for Jasmine, the lovely yoga teacher, played by the lovely ingenue Kimberly Williams. Up to this point, Cosmo has only been able to retain the attention of Honey the Hooker (Janeane Garafalo). But now he has visions of a better life with Jasmine, but without Gordon, his henchman John or even Steve. Only one hitch: Jasmine doesn't like the idea of living with a hit man, but then, neither does Cosmo.
"Coldblooded" is played so broadly, it's hard to imagine that anyone thought it was a documentary or a justification of the need for hit men anymore than Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal of the 18th Century actually called for the children of the poor to be eaten by the rich. Who could believe that anyone who looked like Jason Priestley would lead such a dull, drab life? Or that a charmer like Peter Riegert couldn't talk his way out of any assignment? Or that Kimberly Williams would consider a hit man to be her nicest boyfriend? Hey, it's only a movie, but it made ME laugh!
Copyright 1997 Monica Sullivan
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