Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MOVIE REVIEWS IN BRIEF

Some lead-footed 'Queen's Men'

October 25, 2002|Gene Seymour | Newsday

Let's hope -- shall we? -- that the "true story" that allegedly "inspired" "All the Queen's Men" was a lot funnier and more deftly enacted than what's been cobbled together here. This anachronistic throwback to the World War II espionage thrillers that flourished in the 1960s could even have survived its cheap cross-dressing jokes if director Stefan Ruzowitsky knew how to orchestrate a simple chase scene like the clumsy tango of tanks that opens the film.

One of those tanks is driven by American OSS agent Steven O'Rourke (Matt LeBlanc), a 1990s-style self-starter in 1940s-Army khaki, who has swiped a Nazi code machine (the legendary "Enigma" device) from under the Germans' noses. The recovery is ruined by an anal-retentive British officer whom O'Rourke promptly bites on the leg. Off to the hoosegow, until another British officer (Edward Fox) recruits O'Rourke for another behind-the-lines attempt at stealing the machine. The catch this time is that O'Rourke and his team must all wear dresses, wigs and makeup, since only women work in the factories that make the machines. Worse yet, O'Rourke has a motley crew to accompany him, including a sweet old desk sergeant (James Cosmo), a callow young encryption expert (David Birkin) and a canny veteran commando (Eddie Izzard), ostracized for his penchant for performing in drag.

Ernst Lubitsch or Billy Wilder could have done quite a bit with this misfit crew, of which LeBlanc, for all his determined buoyancy, seems the most out of place. His lead-footed bluster is all too emblematic of the movie's weaknesses.

"All the Queen's Men": Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes. At selected theaters.

*

--Gene Seymour, Newsday

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|