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Tailor of Panama

Release Date: 
03/30/2001
Rated: 
MPAA: R
Star Rating: 
7 out of 10
At first, the sight of Pierce Brosnan playing a suave, English spy who isn’t 007 might seem laughably absurd. After all, typecasting has killed bigger careers than his. However, Tailor of Panama soon proves that its casting is almost too perfect.

What begins as a run-of-the-mill spy caper soon proves itself more of a spy spoof that cuts deeper than the one-joke Austin Powers. Tailor suggests what we’ve suspected all along about Bond and his ilk: that every one of ’em is completely full of shit. As the movie’s “dashing” hero, Brosnan takes the piss out of his own image by playing a character who comes across like a womanizing dipshit without a moral bone in his entire body. Imagine Sean Connery playing Bond in one movie and his evil opposite in another—exactly, he’d never dare. Which makes Brosnan’s performance all the better. In place of the rogue spy, the closest thing to a hero we get is a sniveling tailor (Geoffrey Rush, also perfectly cast), who cuffs pants while spewing out more horseshit than Dubya and Gore at a riding academy. Soon, the tailor’s tales have Brosnan salivating and the U.S. Army ready to carpet-bomb Panama City.

Although slow paced, Tailor is worth your patience. It is, as one character says, “Casablanca without the heroes.” Although not all of it works (the tailor getting visited by his dead uncle is kinda lame), there are quite a few laughs, tons of gorgeous scenery, some sweaty jungle sex (involving Braveheart’s Catherine McCormack), and nice twists to keep your interest. If you doubt the satire, just wait for Thirteen Days’ Dylan Baker to make his appearance as a member of army brass—his teary-eyed, patriotic speech is perfectly played to hilarity. Tailor is a surprise and worth a look.