Watching the Detectives ***
Written and Directed by Paul Soter
This Film Is Not Yet Rated-Probably PG-13 for sex and language.
"Watching the Detectives" is a departure for both writer/director Paul Soter, and the star Cillian Murphy. Soter, who is one fifth of Broken Lizard-the comedy team that make such raunchy hits as "Super Troopers" and "Beerfest," has crafted a delightful romantic comedy, and Murphy, who is probably best known for his intense and heavy work in "Batman Begins" and "Red Eye" is taking an active part in a heavily comic role. And yet they are both so comfortable in their parts to the point where it seems like they are pros at the genre. "Watching the Detectives" has Murphy play Neil, the owner of a small Mom and Pop video store that is facing problems from the big guns up the street. Neil is a good man who loves the movies, and often spends the day in his store with the other movie obsessed people that hang out there. One day he meets Violet, an adventurous femme fatale type that takes Neil on an adventure of his own-and teaching him that doing is sometimes better than watching, and lession that I hope somebody will teach ME some day.
"Watching the Detectives" mainly works because of the chemistry between Murphy and Lucy Lui, who plays Violet. It is also a smart script that Soter has penned, with plenty of sly movie in-jokes, and special cameos by members of the Broken Lizard team. I counted three of them, including Soter himself. Murphy plays the screwball comedy scenes very well, and he is extremely funny and likable. I have seen him do lighter work in "Breakfast on Pluto," his best role, and here he is witty and can appeal to a mainstream audience as well. "Watching the Detectives" should have no problem getting a release by the end of this year, and is a fantastic indie romance. And for once it's not exactly a quirky type of romance.