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SAFE MEN

SYNOPSIS:
Sam (Sam Rockwell) and Eddie (Steve Zahn) are two struggling singers, who, when mistaken for a pair of safe-crackers, are inadvertently pulled into a nether world of crime. At first they fail to realise what they are getting into, but things change when they play along and begin to perform a series of heists for which they are vastly unprepared. All under the watchful eye of mafia boss Big Fat Bernie (Michael Lerner) and Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti). In the meantime, the real safe-crackers are also on the job.

"Droll, wry characters who brighten the screen with offbeat colour, are the mainstay of this quirky comedy, which entertains but somehow falls short. It's a cute idea, well executed by a terrific cast, who make it work by playing it dead straight. Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn produce enough funny faces to amuse; both bring an individuality that make them interesting to watch. Most of the humour is in the characters, rather than the script, although there are some funny lines. The names are amusing Big Fat Bernie, his son Big Little Fat, Veal Chop and Good Stuff Leo. Its colourful and humorous but drags here and there and somehow wavers. There was so much potential for this film that the outcome, even though its fun, is a tad disappointing."
Louise Keller

"Safe Men is promising; there is the promise of humour from the situation (mistaken identity in dangerous predicament) and from the characters. And sure, there is humour, but it is blunted somehow, never fully realised and vaguely unsatisfying by being almost there but not quite. Performances verge on overacting, perhaps because we are not immediately enthralled by the characters, and the story is a tad plodding. Pace is patchy, too, with some excellent moments interspersed by sequences that drag. If you went with low expectations, youd be satisfied."
Andrew L. Urban

"Safe Men is a film bristling with well intentioned ideas that never come to fruition. This is such a terrific idea; why is it so bad? Well, lack of consistent humour for one. This is supposedly the Dumb and Dumber of the intellectual set, if one can accept that contradiction, yet, no matter how utterly silly the other film was, it was at least amusing. The problem here, the script is neither sharp nor particularly clever, and the film's two leads, give nice, but underwhelming performances. The film's saving grace is Michael Lerner, who shines as Big Fat Bernie Gayle. The Jewish humour could have been more interesting, but then, so could the film. It goes to show, ideas are great if they come with screenwriters who know what they're doing."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 3
Mixed: 1

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

SAFE MEN (M)
(US)

CAST: Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Pais, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Lerner, Paul Giamatti, Christina Kirk, Michael Schmidt

DIRECTOR: John Hamburg

PRODUCER: Ellen Bronfman, Andrew Hauptman, Katie Roumel

SCRIPT: John Hamburg

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Barrett

MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Anthony Gasparro

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 10, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: October 13, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal







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