* (out of four)
To my knowledge, no New York crime drama has ever contained more patty-cake than “Violet & Daisy.”
Three times characters play the child’s game in this appalling effort from writer-director Geoffrey Fletcher, who won an Oscar for writing “Precious.” His cutesy premise features young, innocent-looking hitwomen who both fawn over a pop star’s new clothing line and jump on the chests of recently wounded enemies, calling it “the internal bleeding dance.”
Pals and partners in murder-for-hire Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) hesitate to take a supposedly “easy gig” until they realize the earnings will allow them to buy the new Barbie Sunday dresses, which will, like, totally change their lives in unexplained ways. So they go to kill Michael (James Gandolfini) at his apartment, except he’s not there and the girls fall asleep on the couch. When they wake up, Michael’s covered them with a blanket. Even after the pair pummels his chair with bullets, thinking he was sitting there, the guy comes out of the kitchen with fresh-baked cookies (and a death wish) and wants to chat. In screenwriting, they call this, “Things that would never happen ever and thus lead to a movie that’s not even in the same hemisphere as convincing.”
Presenting the film in chapters (such as “4: Violet’s Odyssey”) as if that automatically makes the overstylized “Violet & Daisy” a fable, Fletcher mistakes flippant smugness for cool and awkwardly lunges for meaning without developing the characters. Bledel’s arch and sarcastic instead of complicated, while Ronan, who made a much better teenage killer in “Hannah,” is having the worst year of her professional life with “V&D” and the pathetic misfire “The Host.”
The girls wear numbers that indicate their assassin rankings, which seem like foolish, easy ways for witnesses to identify them. They unload bullets without silencers and then half-heartedly worry about forensics while, somehow, no one sounds the alarm after all that gunfire. If the film’s meant to be a genre-bending take on the loss of innocence—I much prefer the unjustly maligned “Sucker Punch”--Fletcher should have done more than applauding himself after writing “Diablo Cody” on one hand and “Quentin Tarantino” on the other.
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