A Simple Plan (1998)

A SIMPLE PLAN is simply dull.  Sam Raimi (DARKMAN, the EVIL DEAD 
trilogy) adapts Scott Smith's novel about three small-towners (Bill 
Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Brent Briscoe) who happen upon a 
downed plane in the middle of nowhere.  The craft's buried in snow, 
the pilot's gone to the crows, and there's this duffel bag filled 
with a few million dollars.  (Four point four, to be exact.)  They 
argue, drool over the money, argue some more, drool some more, and 
finally decide to play finders-keepers.  The plan:  split the dough 
at a later date if no one comes a-callin'.  The catch:  all they 
have to do is keep their heads and keep quiet...  

Everything's in place in this should-be-sharp thriller left over 
from last year:  a strong premise, a game cast, another Oscar-
worthy Billy Bob turn, a splendidly shot Minnesota winter, and 
several randy-dandy suspense sequences.  (Good score by Danny Elf-
man, too.)  The problem is that there's nothing *behind* it.  No 
palatable sense of dread; no notion that the screws are tightening 
on the three of them.  

Maybe with bigger actors we wouldn't notice (or care), but that ab-
sence of an undercurrent adds a distracting hollow ring.  (Other 
notable missteps include Bridget Fonda's presence and a peculiar 
lack of local color.  Geez Louise, where are the accents?)  Sure, 
the whole thing's eminently watchable-- for the scenery, for Billy 
Bob's not-so-simple simpleton (yellow teeth and all), and a handful 
of good gotchas.  Just be prepared to watch your watch, as well.  
Here's my blurb: "the best boring movie of the season!" (Rated "R"/
121 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: It Ain't No Fargo

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros