The funniest moments come early on in the story when Victor dispenses with what he hopes will be his last target. He spares the life of a witness - a very vocal parrot - which is supposed to show us that he's really not such a bad guy after all. It quickly becomes obvious that his emotional growth has been stunted by his overbearing mother (a deliciously batty Eileen Atkins) who refuses to hear of his retirement. Victor comes from a long line of A-grade assassins and she takes enormous pride in that, scolding him like a little boy when he fluffs his latest assignment: Rose.
Victor lets his mind wander as he watches Rose in her motel room and an icky feeling begins to creep in. Nighy has a wonderfully self-effacing air about him, so it's easy to laugh it off at this stage, but in a very contrived series of events, he gets uncomfortably close as her bodyguard. Word gets out that Victor is losing his edge and the unscrupulous art dealer conned by Rose (Rupert Everett) brings in the competition. Martin Freeman is outshined by his own false teeth as Dixon, the replacement killer, and somehow Rupert Grint gets caught up in events as bystander Tony, doing his gaping surprised face when the bullets go flying past his head.
Another coincidence finds the hunter and the hunted bunking at the same London hotel. It should be the cue for an old-fashioned farce where doors open and close and Grint gets to do his gaping alarmed face and that's almost exactly what happens. Unfortunately, this predictable business drags on for ages with few genuine surprises or laughs to compensate. The action practically grinds to a halt when Victor, Rose and Tony hole up at Victor's country pile. In another obvious ploy, the characters begin to bond; laughing together, eating together and, er, massaging each other's feet. It's all so idyllic, superficial and gently sleep-inducing.
Apparently, this is a portrait of family, but it's difficult to buy into the relationships between these characters when there isn't a strong enough sense of who they are. Victor remains a blank page. Though he's a great triggerman and getaway driver, he only ever reacts to events rather than driving them forward. That aimlessness is all-pervading and when he eventually makes a move on Rose (who is young enough to be his granddaughter!) it's like watching a car crash unfold. Rose is just as thinly drawn - all quirks and coquettishness - and Tony is a spare wheel with nowhere to go. Nighy and Blunt do bring a lot of warmth and charm to their roles, but thanks to a badly judged script and lazy direction, the final showdown leaves you feeling cold.
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