January 23, 2017

Emily Blunt hits sexy laughs in ‘Wild Target,’ playing at Hollywood Film Festival

HollywoodNews.com: Come meet “Wild Target” Director Jonathan Lynn (“The Whole Nine Yards,” “My Cousin Vinny”) in a Q&A following the Hollywood Film Festival screening on Sunday, Oct. 24, 5 p.m. at the Hollywood ArcLight Cinema. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.

REVIEW: It’s been a while since a breezy, British action comedy has arrived on U.S. shores; their heyday being in the ‘80s when such titles like “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Time Bandits” held their place on the marquee.

When it comes to mobsters, guns and laughs, British director Jonathan Lynn knows a thing or two about crafting a crowd pleasing caper. Lynn is so good at it, Hollywood tapped him for his stylings with “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Sgt. Bilko” and “My Cousin Vinny.” With “Wild Target,” Lynn comfortably returns to the London stomping ground which he made famous with the Eric Idle/Robbie Coltrane chase comedy “Nuns on the Run” in this remake of a 1993 French black comedy.

In “Wild Target,” Bill Nighy stars as Victor, a resilient hitman and marks man who comes from a long line of family assassins. Despite his success, his days of snipering are unfilled. He’s bugged by his mother to get married – a calling Victor has never pursued since he has an identity crisis.

Victor’s humdrum life is turned on its head when his art dealer client Ferguson (Rupert Everett) is double-crossed over a Rembrandt painting purchase by Rose (Emily Blunt), a kleptomaniac who unloads bogus pieces of art. Bill attempts to target Rose in a garage, but as she’s pursued by a plethora of assassins, he winds up becoming her protector. Tony (Rupert Grint), a slacker of sorts and innocent bystander, is scooped up by the duo and taken on the lam.

The chase scenes are hysterically fun in “Wild Target” and the film possesses a kinetic pace. What works here is watching all three actors succeed outside the zones they’ve left impressions with on the big screen. Nighy has carved a reputation for playing zany hams as rocker Billy Mack in “Love Actually” and Davy Jones in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” In “Wild Target,” Nighy is winning as a poised, sharp straight man, appearing stiff on the surface, but funny when cracked by Rose’s antics. Long known for playing the affable Ron Weasley, Grint hits all the right notes as a likable, goofy guy who is groomed by Nighy as a potential shooter. Shedding all facets of the steely assistant she played in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Blunt is fetching as the sexy, fashionable carefree Rose – a foil that complements Nighy’s Victor, like hand to glove. Though known as an award-worthy dramatic actress, Blunt’s timing and physicality is impeccable and should be flexed in further comedy titles to come.

A CinemaNX, Entertainment Film Distributors presentation of a Magic Light Pictures production, in association with Matador Pictures, Isle of Man Film, Cinema Four, Regent Capital, released domestically by Freestyle Releasing. Produced by Martin Pope, Michael Rose. Executive producers, Steve Christian, Nigel Green, Philippe Martin, Marc Samuelson, Nigel Thomas, Charlotte Walls. Directed by Jonathan Lynn. Screenplay, Lucinda Coxon. Camera, David Johnson; editor, Michael Parker; music, Michael Price; production designer, Caroline Greville-Morris; art director, Jim Glen; set decorator, Geraint Powell; costume designer, Sheena Napier. Running time: 98 MIN.

Starring: Bill Nighy (Victor Maynard), Emily Blunt (Rose), Rupert Grint (Tony), Rupert Everett (Ferguson), Eileen Atkins (Louisa Maynard), Martin Freeman (Hector Dixon), Gregor Fisher (Mike).

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Photo credit: Freestyle

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