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Lackluster heist

Netflix’s expensive action-comedy Red Notice fails to entertain


Lackluster heist
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Netflix spent more than $200 million on its new movie Red Notice, featuring A-list stars Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, making it the streaming service’s most expensive film ever. Yet viewers may wonder where all that money went—not on a witty script. Even the charm of actors wasn’t enough to make an endearing comedy.

Red Notice (rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo and vulgar language) strives to be like classic Hollywood screwball comedies, à la Sullivan’s Travels. Two thieves, Nolan Booth (Reynolds) and the Bishop (Gadot), separately pursue one of Cleopatra’s bejeweled eggs as they in turn are hunted by an FBI agent, John Hartley (Johnson). When the agent is wrongly framed, he tries to help Nolan get the egg, which will somehow clear his name. The two pair up against the Bishop, and soon the three are off to pursue the precious treasure.

The movie’s main attraction is the comedic scenes featuring Reynolds and Johnson, who last teamed up briefly in Hobbs and Shaw. Reynolds finds his usual snarky, quippy form here with off-beat jokes about the Rock’s posh leather jacket (“Somewhere there’s a nude cow whispering, ‘Worth it!’”) to telegraphed jibes about the Rock’s physique (“You’re like a well-dressed wall!”)

Red Notice ultimately works best as nonsensical escapist entertainment. Yet even with that low bar, it doesn’t always succeed as it lacks the wit and chemistry necessary for a screwball comedy to become endearing.


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Surprised by this review, I watched this when it came out last week and was thoroughly entertained. It had me laughing throughout.


Once again a movie has been made that critics hate (35% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences love (92% Audience score). If you're a fan of Reynolds' brand of comedy or of any of the Rock's ridiculously unrealistic action pieces (San Andreas, Skyscraper, Rampage, etc.) then you're most likely going to enjoy this. (The rating has more to do with Reynolds, as viewers will probably anticipate.)

Please don't be too serious about it. Also, I'd say that it has exactly the wit and chemistry that are called for.