The Thomas Crown Affair - * 1/2*

The Thomas Crown Affair

Following on the heels of Entrapment, The Thomas Crown Affair is another love-and-crime story, though one with a slightly different tack. A remake of the 1968 Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway caper flick, this new Thomas Crown Affair tones down the crime and turns up the love, but falls well short of igniting any flames.

Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a tycoon who has everything a man could ever want. Well, maybe not everything. You see, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been showcasing a $100 million Monet painting that would look perfect in Crown’s drawing room. So, like all gazillionaires with too much time on their hands, Crown masterminds a brilliant little robbery, and soon the most expensive painting in the world is his.

Investigating the crime is NY cop Michael McCann (Denis Leary). He is joined in his efforts by a wily insurance investigator, Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), who immediately suspects Crown as the culprit.

Banning’s methods of investigation are unorthodox, to say the least. She lures Crown with unadulterated sex appeal. Both she and Crown know the other’s game, yet each views this affair as yet another challenge to overcome. Who will break first? Or who will fall in love?

When The Thomas Crown Affair eschews its crime scenes in favor of more romantic fare, a problem emerges. As a pure romance, the film is about as hot and exciting as an amateur chess match. Both Brosnan and Russo are very icy and cool in their roles, and the air between them is just too cold for sparks. What little actual passion there is turns out rather chilly and distant.

The capers in The Thomas Crown Affair are few and far between. If you’ve seen the trailer for the film, you’ve seen them all. This film is purely a love story, with a few token crime scenes sprinkled on for spice (albeit a mild one).

Director John McTiernan has specialized in action fare before, and it shows. The romantic scenes in the film are as lurid and subtle as an exploding plane. The crime scenes are framed nicely, but they’re practically an afterthought of the movie.

The Thomas Crown Affair is a disappointment. Trying to combine two genres, the film will please fans of neither.

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