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How to Explain the Thing That Is Wild Target

The whole time I was watching Wild Target, I was trying to figure out just how to explain its weirdly old-fashioned comedic tone. I could talk about its absurd plot, which has fastidious assassin Victor Maynard—played by Bill Nighy with a center part, silly mustache, and exasperated air—inexplicably protecting his latest target, the wild ’n’ wacky con artist Rose (Emily Blunt). I could mention how Rupert Grint plays a pot-smoking dunderhead wrapped up in the whole mess. I figured I’d mention that it’s directed by British legend Jonathan Lynn, best known for the BBC’s Yes, Minister, but last seen in movie theaters with, er, Nuns on the Run. (Before that, he directed Clue, for which—respect.) How else to get across how haphazard this whole enterprise is? Describe its incompetent action choreography? Mention the lame cameos by Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, and Martin Freeman? Post an Mp3 of the score, all honking saxophones and wheezing accordions? And then, near the end of the movie, there it was: Emily Blunt pushed a suitcase out the window of a country house. (Because she saw Victor pull the stuffed parrot—it doesn’t matter why!) Off-screen, I heard the suitcase crash to the patio, and then, after a beat, the yowl of an angry cat. Wild Target is the kind of movie that actually uses that angry-cat-yowl sound. That is the kind of movie that Wild Target is.

 
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