[box cover]

Who is Cletis Tout?

Not by a long shot the worst of the Pulp Fiction-inspired crime dramadies, Who is Cletis Tout? semi-successfully filters its derivative and flat fusion of hip cynicism, pop-culture saturation, and violent nihilism through a '60s-era Blake Edwards lens. Christian Slater, Richard Dreyfuss, Portia de Rossi and Tim Allen star in writer-director Chris Ver Wiel's awkwardly too-cute story of mistaken identity, and while the script shows some humor and smarts, every bright moment is matched by one of leaden, preposterous pandering and a relativist attitude toward crime that clashes with the movie's romantic intentions. Ver Wiel's criminal underworld is populated with sentimental saps and endearing dunderheads, each of whom is just bright enough to outwit the befuddled police, but never capable of outfoxing the B.S. meter. The bright, comic approach has its moments, but too often its juxtaposition with the material — during a few gruesome coroner's office images, especially — is more style than subtext. And, for God's sake, no more gratuitous scenes of hit men discussing mundane media trivia, please. Paramount's DVD release of Who is Cletis Tout? is presented in a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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