Professional Killers and Teen Drama Clash in Violet and Daisy

A somewhat tastier concoction than its list of ingredients might suggest, Geoffrey Fletcher's Violet & Daisy mashes a teen-beauties-too-sensitive-for-their-world drama up with one of those dry comedies about professional killers who have grown blithe about their jobs. Then there are serious trace elements of Stand-Up Guys or any other bittersweet crime flick where those who whack find themselves un-eager to plug their latest victim. But Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan are wholly winning as the white-girl assassins of the title, prickly Violet (Bledel) hiding her homicidal rage behind Zooey Deschanel bangs, and naive Daisy (Ronan) so apple-pie sweet she can't really muster any homicidal rage at all. (Both resemble real teenagers, which is rare in movies.) After a sharp shock intro establishing their murderous bona fides, the duo daydream over celebrity magazines and agree to a new assignment to scare up cash to buy pricey new dresses. The target, though, is a fatherly lump played by James Gandolfini, an actor who lugs about world-weary gravitas like Scrooge's partner Marley lugged chains. Gandolfini's character wants to be killed, which confounds Violet and Daisy—and makes the job tricky. The three leads take naps and mope about his apartment; meanwhile, there's story-beefing filler with rival gangs, other killers, and the persistent problem of scoring more bullets when you're fresh out. The key relationships are well drawn, if not especially revealing of anything human, and director Fletcher sometimes dares some welcome absurdity. But if you've seen movies built from the same parts as this one, you'll likely find this too familiar—but energetic, well-acted, and distinguished by artfully artless chatter.

 
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