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The Brothers Grimm

Genre: Adventure
Rated: PG-13
Directed by
Released by: Dimension Films

In Short: The brothers Grimm are two 19th century con men find themselves in the midst of real magical enchantment in director Terry Gilliam's misguided take on fairy tale favorites.

Stumbling Across a Fairy Tale Landscape
By Jenny Peters

There's no easy way to say it. "The Brothers Grimm" is just a mess. It hurts to make that statement, since Terry Gilliam’s movies have been easy to love so far. Think "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "Twelve Monkeys" and the comedy classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." But this time, the long-awaited "Grimm" —the director's first film since 1998's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"— evokes neither love nor hate. Just boredom, a word that is usually unimaginable in conjunction with Gilliam's normally unique and creative work.

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger star as brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, con men wandering across French-occupied Germany in the days of Napoleon's rule, preying on the superstitions of countryside folk. As always, Gilliam creates a complete world for his characters, but unfortunately, this one is grubby, gray and uninspiring. Add a storyline that often leaves the viewer at a loss and an over-the-top performance by Peter Stormare as Cavaldi, an Italian gendarme working for a snooty French general, and the film quickly devolves from boring to downright annoying.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the film is the tone, as Gilliam and company can't seem to decide whether "The Brothers Grimm" is supposed to be a delightful comedic romp or a dark and scary fantasy. Instead, it careens jarringly from one extreme to the other. The brothers hoodwink townsfolk and romance barmaids, then battle a living forest and an evil witch kidnapping girls and burying them alive. Instead of excitement, all this does is simply create a jumbled muddle of emotions and an unsettled mood.

The bright spots in this otherwise extremely disappointing film are the women. Lena Headey shines as a tough-as-nails country lass Angelika who joins the guys in the fight against the evil witch expertly played by the always-fascinating Monica Bellucci. But sadly for fans of Terry Gilliam's earlier work, their performances are nowhere near enough to save this unfortunate film.

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