The Long Kiss Goodnight - * * *

The Long Kiss Goodnight is a surprisingly witty action-comedy. Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is an amnesiac schoolteacher who was found pregnant and memoryless on a beach eight years ago. Several private investigators have attempted to find out who she is and failed…and now she’s left with Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson), the bottom of the barrel. However, Mitch stumbles on a clue, and a traumatic accident causes Samantha’s former self to begin to reemerge. Apparently, she used to be Charly Baltimore, government assassin. As Samantha and Mitch attempt to discover more about Charly, they discover that there are some people who would rather Charly remain dead. There are a few credibility problems with The Long Kiss Goodnight, as there are with many superspy films. But once this one gets rolling, its a wild ride. This is one of the (intentionally) funniest action films to come about in a long while. The film is full of sharp, witty dialogue, a credit to screenwriter Shane Black. Directory Renny Harlin redeems himself after last year’s Cutthroat Island debacle. The action here explodes off the screen. Geena Davis handles her dual role expertly, playing both the suburban schoolteacher/mom and the cursing, deadly secret agent with surprising toughness. Her only weak moments are the transition scenes, when it is unclear which persona is in charge. Samuel L. Jackson is excellent, as always, in this supporting turn as the eccentric private eye, providing some of the films wittiest moments. Give it some time to build up steam, and The Long Kiss Goodnight packs a hefty punch.

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