Who Is Cletis Tout?
July 26, 2002
After a world premiere at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, Who is Cletis Tout? has been picked up for distribution by Paramount Classics and is set for a limited mid-summer release. The film is director Chris Ver Weil's feature debut, as he works from his own screenplay.
The movie tells the story of mistaken identities, and stars Christian Slater as the eponymous Cletis Tout…in a manner of speaking. He actually plays the part of master forger and prison escapee Trevor Finch, who assumes the identity of deceased journalist Tout after he busts out of jail with a magician named Micah (Richard Dreyfuss). Unfortunately, the real Cletis Tout had a mob contract on his head, and Finch is forced to run not only from the cops, but also a crazed hit-man named Critical Jim (Tim Allen, playing against type).
Other players featured in this noir comedy are Portia DeRossi (Ally McBeal), RuPaul, and Scottish character actor Billy Connolly (of the '80s sitcom Head of the Class). The film has been re-edited somewhat due to responses from early audiences who had difficulty buying Tool Man Tim Allen as a fairly gritty bad guy, and it was already facing an uphill battle thanks to numerous other recent failures in the genre. Expect Who is Cletis Tout? to play very well to the limited audiences who appreciated movies like Death to Smoochy and Big Trouble, but not much further than that select group. (Kim Hollis/BOP)