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Take No Pensioners

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 30, 1999

  Movie Critic

In "Entrapment," Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones are drawn to the finer things in life – and each other. (20th Century Fox)

Jon Amiel
Sean Connery;
Catherine Zeta-Jones;
Ving Rhames;
Will Patton
Maury Chaykin
Running Time:
1 hour, 52 minutes
Contains sexual situations and major innuendo
If you're wondering about "Entrapment," a high-class romantic thriller starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, perhaps you should ask yourself: How deep will you dive into the vortex of hokum and disbelief to root for a romance between these two?

"Entrapment," whose debt to James Bond movies and such romance-thrillers as "The Thomas Crown Affair" is very clear, makes that vortex plunge pretty painless. For this, 20th Century Fox and director Jon Amiel should thank Connery and Zeta-Jones, who play the subtextual game to the hilt.

This is about passion between the grand old lion and the feisty young cougar; the implications between a grizzled James Bond and the Girl From "The Mask of Zorro." Except that this Bond steals, and this Girl has a brain above her tight pants – and just might be a player, too.

There's your intrigue. There's your romance. There's your x factor, by which I mean your willingness to give two appealing stars an incredible break throughout most of the major obstacles between them and a successful robbery.

Connery plays Robert "Mac" MacDougal, an art thief in the Cary Grant mode, the kind of gentleman burglar that brought class, intellectualism and sexiness to the role before Quentin Tarantino pulled it down to a quippy, blue-collar, bloody, video store clerk level. Mac picks up whatever amazing treasure is up for grabs, as much for the challenge as for what it would bring at Sotheby's.

It seems that Virginia "Gin" Baker (Zeta-Jones), an insurance investigator, is on to him. Has tracked him for a long time. Knows his modus operandi. And promises her boss, Hector Cruz (Will Patton), that she has a plan to entrap the world's smartest burglar.

"What do you have in mind for bait?" asks Cruz.

She produces a glossy magazine whose cover shows a high-priced ancient Chinese mask worth millions. Yeah, right. We know what the real bait is.

The movie – written by Ron Bass and William Broyles – follows a quasi-007 course. There's an outrageous mission that involves evading security men, dressing in wet suits and scurrying through ducts and tunnels. Our partners must visit exotic locales – Mac's castle retreat in Scotland, and another location across the ocean you can discover for yourself.

There's even a "Q," the guy who brings Mac all his expensive gadgetry. The supplier in this case is Ving Rhames, who plays . . . Ving Rhames. Fresh from a similar role in "Mission: Impossible," he plays Thibadeaux, a charismatic helpmate who lurks around the edges and is way too interesting to stay on the sidelines.

But the main story is the romantic dueling between Mac and Gin, as they maneuver for their best possible positions vis-a-vis each other, while skirting the movie's formula-driven theme of trust.

"I'm a thief," she says.

"So you keep telling me," he replies.

Personally, if Connery says "Trussssht me," which he does several times, I'm inclined to trust him. As for Zeta-Jones, well, you'll have to watch those balletic, choreographed contortions, as she lithely evades a network of crisscrossing lasar beams, to appreciate what she brings to the movie. And if the suspense isn't enough for you – and I can't imagine it wouldn't be – there's always the extreme likelihood that Connery's ticker may not greet the millennium if she has her way. Luckily for Mr. MacDougal, it's one of the rules of the road, that there's work to be done first. You pack the explosives, the weaponry and the emergency 'chute, and save the Viagra for later.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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