88 MINUTES (Jon Avnet). 107 minutes. Opens Friday (April 18). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: N
For a guy who’s just been told he has less than an hour and a half to live, Al Pacino sure does seem relaxed.
That’s an interesting, unconventional approach for the master thespian, apparently based on the idea that his character, high-end Seattle psychiatrist Jack Gramm, is hung over and exhausted from a night of wild sex with an impossibly hot law student. And that’s the only interesting thing in 88 Minutes. Even when someone points a gun at him, Pacino sighs with exasperation rather than getting all worked up about it.
That’s kind of cool. And it’s briefly fascinating to watch Pacino sleepwalk through Gary Scott Thompson’s incoherent script, which slaps a ticking-clock gimmick over a boilerplate cat-and-mouse thriller in which Pacino’s super-shrink must figure out who’s behind a series of copycat murders on the day the “Seattle Slayer” is to be executed for his crimes. (Gramm’s testimony, we’re told, was essential to his conviction.)
It’s also kind of interesting to watch Pacino’s co-stars – among them Alicia Witt, Amy Brenneman, Deborah Kara Unger, Leelee Sobieski and Ryan from The O.C. – do their best to take the movie’s silliness seriously, even though they don’t have a hope in hell of making it work.
After all, they’re working with Big Al, and that’s got to be worth any embarrassment. Or so you’d think.