In the tradition of such unwatchable blockbusters as Armageddon, Con Air, and Godzilla comes Wild Wild West, yet another cinematic Spruce Goose that illustrates how bigger is rarely better. Less a film than an elaborate theme-park attraction gone horribly awry, Wild Wild West stars Will Smith and Kevin Kline as Old West secret agents who, in a rare and disconcertingly original plot twist, are opposites forced to team up to fight a common enemy, an over-the-top Kenneth Branagh as a renegade Confederate scientist. In yet another twist that no doubt required the brain power of all six credited screenwriters, Branagh also just happens to be the man responsible for the death of Smith's parents. Big, loud, and gratingly unfunny, Wild Wild West wastes the talents of a charismatic leading man (Smith), a gifted comedic actor (Kline), and a director with a unique gift for crafting subversively entertaining studio fare (Barry Sonnenfeld). That gift fails Sonnenfeld spectacularly here, however, as the deadpan comic tone that suited Men In Black so well falls horribly flat due to an awful script that tries desperately but fails to generate the least bit of suspense or laughter. Featuring some of the worst one-liners this side of The New Laugh-In—and some of the least funny bits of cross-dressing this side of a fraternity talent show—Wild Wild West is so flat and misguided that it ends up eerily resembling Hudson Hawk, another loud, boorish action-comedy that felt like a bad inside joke. Whether or not, like Hawk, it will become a synonym for Hollywood excess and awfulness remains to be seen, but there's no denying that it's exceedingly difficult to endure.
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