“Coldblooded” is a staggeringly unfunny would-be comedy about a trainee hit man. Played deadpan for laughs that never come, new effort from the producers of “Dumb and Dumber” wants to have fun mixing murder and mirth, but ends up as one big sick joke. What this is doing in the Sundance Film Festival is more of a mystery than its commercial future, which looks dire theatrically, although Jason Priestley’s name could make it a passable vid entry.
Premise might have served as the basis for a half-hour short, but it’s amazing that none of the talent who signed on noticed that there wasn’t nearly enough in writer/director Wallace Wolodarsky’s script for a feature.
Cosmo (Priestley) is a boring bookie who, against his will, is promoted to hit man by crime lord Gordon (Robert Loggia). To teach the callow young man the ropes, Gordon enlists old pro Steve (Peter Riegert), a talkative, philosophical chap who is astonished by Cosmo’s terrific marksmanship at the shooting range and soon takes the novice out for his first kill.
In an appalling scene that sets the tone for the rest of the picture, Cosmo chats with, and becomes sympathetic to, the intended victim, a nice enough guy who onlyowes Gordon some cash. But when Steve orders Cosmo to shoot, he fires away into the man’s ample belly.
Pic’s sitcomlike music cues that this is supposed to be funny, but the only way this could have garnered any yocks would have been to put on a laughtrack.
A few more hits follow, until the automatonlike Cosmo thinks he feels strange emotions such as remorse and love, the latter inspired by his shapely yoga instructor, Jasmine (Kimberly Williams).
So, as quickly as he got into the business, Cosmo wants to get out, which requires some extreme measures that prove both tedious and disagreeable to watch.
Ending is yet another offensive example of a killer expecting absolution for his criminal acts.
Wolodarsky, one of the original writers on “The Simpsons,” miscalculated big-time how this supposed sendup would play, result being a comedy without a single laugh. And didn’t anybody here see “Pulp Fiction”? If they had, they might have wanted to cut the astoundingly embarrassing scene in which Cosmo lamely tries to clean the blood off some automobile upholstery.
Priestley delivers a deliberately robot-like performance, and even Riegert’s comic talent can’t begin to alleviate the painful circumstances in which he finds himself.
Co-producer Michael J. Fox is in briefly as another of Cosmo’s friendly victims.
Tech contributions are ho-hum.