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Margaritas taste better in Mexico

Megan Mowbray
Megan Mowbray
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If you are one of those people who has always wondered what it might take to get Bond, James Bond, into a cheerleading outfit, this movie is for you. As Julian Noble, Pierce Brosnan, previously of the debonair 007 fame, gets low-down and as dirty as possible as a drunk, prostitute-hiring hit-man. Very few movies actually accomplish their goal of making entire audiences laugh out loud, multiple times. While some movies have a few good one-liners, “The Matador” exceeds all expectations of gut busters in one movie.

And where better to start this charade than in Mexico City, where Nobel has a few hits to make, a few prostitutes to hire, and a lot of margaritas to drink. The unlikely duo of Nobel and Kinnear’s character, businessman Danny Wright (please don’t miss the irony of Nobel and Wright for our lead men here), first meet in their hotel’s bar. Nobel is drunk, as I believe he is throughout the entire film, and Wright is excited at the prospect of landing the business deal he has just pitched. In either case, it is high time for a margarita, because as they say, when in Mexico . . .

After only one ‘rita, Wright has had about enough with his new companion’s humor, and leaves the bar for the night. What makes them come back together for the rest of the movie? Well, all of a sudden Wright’s business deal isn’t going so well, so he must stay in Mexico. Nobel finds him again, after a hilarious tirade in his black Speedo and motorcycle boots through the hotel lobby to the pool for a close encounter with a shark. With nothing else to do, Wright agrees to go to a bull fight. While the finest and most favored matador in Mexico is performing his trade, Nobel gives a demonstration of his trade as well: A hit, on a man Wright picks out, just for fun, to see this “facilitator of fatalities,” in action.

One of Nobel’s main points in his step-by-step instruction on how to make a hit is you must have a distraction for nearby police and bodyguards. The majority of the demonstration is flawless, and both the viewer and Wright struggle to figure out if Nobel is going to finish the job, just for fun. But Nobel’s planned distraction fails, aborting the mission. The scene still functions in establishing a relationship between Nobel and Wright.

The movie skips six months ahead to find a drunk (surprise, surprise) Nobel on the steps of Wright’s house in Denver. After a whiskey inspired conversation, we begin to wonder just what happened that last night in Mexico. Wright’s deal was going south, and Nobel hinted that competitors were “taken care of.” All we know for now is, Wright owes Nobel a favor, a big one at that. Nobel needs help with one last hit, one that will save his life.

The two zip off to Arizona with a plan. Wright pulls his part off without a hitch. Nobel, on the other hand, freezes. Again, we skip ahead to the plane ride home. What happened? Does it matter who did what? The way Brosnan and Kinnear bounce off each other throughout the movie, playing against stereotyped roles of both hit-men and business men, is as hilarious as it is compelling. Watching this movie, you will find yourself rooting for someone you have nothing in common with. Then, you will start identifying with both of these opposing characters, who all the sudden, in the end, are not so opposite. Director Richard Shepard wipes out the standard formula buddy movie, and gives a whole new meaning to the idea of friendship.


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