It’ll be hard to avoid Emily Blunt in 2011, what with key roles in “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Gnomeo & Juliet” and an upcoming project by director Lynn Shelton of “Humpday” fame.
But audiences managed to miss Blunt’s work in a droll import making its Blu-ray and DVD debut this week.
The British farce “Wild Target” made a meager $100K during its 2010 theatrical run. The assassin comedy casts Blunt as a flighty thief who steals from the wrong person and ends up with a target on her pretty forehead.
The beguiling actress makes the marginal movie worth one’s consideration especially for those with a weakness for British banter.
Veteran killer Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) can get the job done in virtually any setting. All he needs is a target and his trusty silencer. When he’s assigned to kill a pretty art thief named Rose (Blunt) he loses his professional cool. He falls in love for her just before his trigger finger can do his bidding.
But the man who wants Rose dead (Rupert Everett) doesn’t care about Victor’s change of heart. So he hires another assassin (Martin Freeman) to complete the assignment.
Meanwhile, Victor manages to convince Rose he’s there to protect her from harm. Add an innocent bystander (“Harry Potter’s” Rupert Grint) into the mix and you have all the elements for a Grade A farce.
Yet “Wild Target” feels intellectually underfed, as if the comic pieces needed some fine tuning before going before the camera. The film blissfully doesn’t overplay its hand, a credit to veteran comedy director Jonathan Lynn (“My Cousin Vinny,” “The Whole Nine Yards”).
The script has moments of whimsy, and every time the story zig zags from the surreal to the downright absurd, Blunt and Nighy tug it back into a semblance of sanity. The leads even make an improbably love story stick, fueled by a vigorous foot rub and two very lonely souls. Pity poor Grint, though, whose character simply isn’t given enough definition to make him a solid part of what’s essential a three character story.
And then there’s Victor’s mama, a piece of work you wouldn’t want to mess with. Her scenes show what might have been with more spit polish and imagination.
“Wild Target” has sleeper stenciled all over it, but it’s never quite as inspired as it needs to be. Instead, it’s a chance to spend time with two charismatic stars and a third whose future could be bright with or without a certain boy wizard.
The Blu-ray edition features an extra segment “On Target with Emily Blunt” where the British actress deconstructs Rose and her curious take on life.