Oz fails to settle The Score

The Score

Directed by Frank Oz

(Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett)

Rated: R

When a film headlined by the Robert De Niro of Taxi Driver, the Edward Norton of Primal Fear and the Marlon Brando of The Godfather is released, it seems inevitable that it would be one of the most promising films the year. When the vehicle that carries these names begins to resemble those same career mistakes of De Niro’s Analyze This, Norton’s Keeping the Faith and Brando’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, the promise fades, and the magnitude of the disappointment of Frank Oz’s new movie, The Score, can begin to be understood.

The Score‘s disappointments abound, from the extremely shopworn and predictable plot, to the unheathily immobile Brando (this film could have been screened quite comfortably on the Godfather’s ass).

DeNiro plays Nick Wells, a safe cracker who is ready to retire from his life of crime and settle down with his girlfriend Diane (Angela Bassett). That is until his longtime friend and fence Max (Brando) cajoles him into doing (everyone say it with me) one last crime.

Enter Jackie Teller (Norton), an aspiring young thief who has been the mastermind behind the heist. He is to team up with Wells to pull off the crime. What results is a sort of homoerotic version of Entrapment, although Norton can’t really compete with a tightly clad Catherine Zeta-Jones.

While all of the actors turn in characteristically good performances, Bassett’s character remains highly undeveloped for the importance her role plays in the narrative. And while Oz’s transition from his former comedic films (What About Bob?, In and Out) into suspense is a smooth one, his ability to handle the fast-paced action sequences of said drama staggers and falls.

– C.Y.

The Score opens today in theatres nationwide.