Knockaround Guys

Release Date: October 11, 2002
Moved up from October 18, 2002

Mo, Schemp, Larry and Curly.

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Knockaround Guys features the rising talents Barry Pepper and Seth Green, not to mention some legitimate bigger-name stars in Vin Diesel, Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich. Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who shared directing and writing duties, also found cultish success with their shared screenplay for the gambling film Rounders. Sounds like an automatic winner, right?

Apparently not.

A film that has been in the can for over two years now, Knockaround Guys has seen its release date pushed back countless times as it has ostensibly cleared the way for other New Line releases such as Thirteen Days and I Am Sam. Oddly enough, some of these moves came after the trailer received a fair amount of positive buzz when it began appearing in theaters in the spring of 2001. The fact of the matter is that the numerous moves do not bode well for the quality of this film because frankly, the dates from which it's been moved so far are typically reserved for the wasteland of studio dumpage. If it can't even keep a crappy date, I have to speculate that Knockaround Guys must indeed be spectacularly awful.

Even so, New Line will have my $5.50 if they ever truly see fit to give this film a theatrical release. The premise as shown in the trailer is outstanding. Pepper plays Matty Demaret, the son of big-time mob boss Benny Chains (Hopper). At his father's request, Demaret travels to Montana to pay off a debt, but botches the job completely when he loses the cash. He calls on three other wise-guys' kids (Diesel, Green and Andrew Davoli) to help him recover the cash and they encounter a corrupt sheriff, bloodshed, violence and betrayal along the way. Though it may not sound like it from the description, the film is, in fact, a comedy. Here's hoping it's an extremely dark one.

There are a number of elements that actually should combine to give Knockaround Guys a fair shot at success, so New Line's hesitation to release it seems doubly baffling upon reflection. Diesel is an extremely hot commodity in Hollywood at the moment, with a number of interesting upcoming projects that include xXx and the sequel to his first real breakout hit, Pitch Black. Though Pepper has never quite risen above up-and-comer status, he's done some really fine work as more of a bit player in films like The Green Mile and Saving Private Ryan (we'll just ignore Battlefield Earth). Green, formerly of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, breaks my heart on an almost regular basis. His most recent films, Rat Race and America's Sweethearts, were certainly not critically acclaimed (I particularly loathed the former) and his character on TV's Greg the Bunny is so horrifically over-written and -acted that the show is essentially unwatchable. I still keep coming back when I see his name attached to a project anyway.

Past Oscar® nominees Hopper and Malkovich are an interesting addition to the cast that broaden this film's appeal to a larger demographic. If Knockaround Guys had only the more youth-oriented segment on which to hang its hopes, it might be a tougher sell, but with these two distinguished gentlemen featured fairly prominently, it looks to be a movie that baby boomers might enjoy as well.

Provided Knockaround Guys does in fact see wide release in theaters and the television commercials look as good as the trailers, it really has a decent chance for a solid opening weekend. If the actual quality is as poor as other factors seem to indicate, it will likely die a quick death in subsequent weeks. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Knockaround Guys
Main Cast Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper, Anothy Davoli, Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich
Supporting Cast Tom Noonan, Jennifer Baxter, Ceciley Jenkins, John Liddle
Director Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Screenwriter Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Distributor New Line Cinema
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Also see Stephanie Star Smith reviews the trailer
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Knockaround Guys
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Bandits 10/12/0113.05 13.92 3207 4069.00 4177.0 41.52 44.31 3.18
Rat Race 8/17/0111.66 12.44 2550 4573.00 4694.4 56.09 59.86 4.81
Mickey Blue Eyes 8/20/9910.18 12.13 2573 3956.00 4516.7 33.79 40.26 3.32
Rounders 9/11/988.46 10.87 2176 3888.00 4808.2 22.88 29.41 2.70
3000 Miles to Graceland 2/23/017.16 7.64 2545 2813.00 2887.7 15.74 16.79 2.20
Jane Austen's Mafia! 7/24/986.58 8.45 1942 3388.00 4189.9 19.84 25.50 3.02
Freshman, The 7/27/904.22 6.02 1040 4058.00 5577.3 21.29 30.42 4.95
Simple Plan, A 1/22/993.42 4.07 660 5182.00 5916.5 16.31 19.43 3.70



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