A hitman suffering an identity crisis turns bodyguard to protect a femme kleptomaniac in the unlovable, seldom funny Brit comedy "Wild Target."

A hitman suffering an identity crisis turns bodyguard to protect a femme kleptomaniac in the unlovable, seldom funny Brit comedy “Wild Target.” Nearly every element here is wildly off-target, from Jonathan Lynn’s (“The Whole Nine Yards”) lazy helming and Lucinda Coxon’s shambolic script to the embarrassed-looking perfs from usually excellent lead thesps Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. Likely to be shot down by critical attacks and bad word of mouth, the pic would be well advised to go to ancillary straight away.

Born into a family of pro assassins, ace hitman Victor Maynard (Nighy) longs for some kind of life beyond murdering people. When client Ferguson (Rupert Everett) hires Victor to off kooky thief Rose (Blunt) for stealing a Rembrandt from him, Victor finds himself unable to finish the job, and ends up saving her and witness Tony (Rupert Grint) from subsequent killers. Character motivations make no sense throughout; Victor thinks he may be gay one minute, but is falling for Rose the next. Chase sequences are competently handled, but then nothing really happens for 40 minutes halfway through. Only Blunt’s sexy, high-fashion wardrobe compels interest — but only just.

Wild Target

U.K.

Production

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. (International sales: Protagonist Pictures, London.) 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.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), 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. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 13, 2010. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman, Gregor Fisher.
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