By Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers
June 6, 2013
"Violet & Daisy" plays like a live-action version of a Japanese manga comic. Lurid and bloody, it has elaborate gunplay and kinky-kitschy, lollipop-sucking schoolgirls working as assassins to pay for their teen fashions and music obsessions. Vintage pop hits underscore their mob hits.
And in between "jobs" they pause for a game of patty-cake or hopscotch, or gush about the latest fashions worn by their favorite pop idol, Barbie Sunday.
But this was written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher, who scripted "Precious," so the bizarre blend of Kewpie doll coltishness and cult film is purely American-made.
Alexis Bledel graduates from the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" to full-on sociopath as Violet, who seems to relish packing two pistols into a "Righteous Pizza" box, which she and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), dressed in nuns' habits, then deliver to unsuspecting victims, whom they riddle with bullets. Hey, how many jobs let you play dress-up on the way to work?
Daisy is the more submissive of the duo, taking all her cues from the more mercenary Violet. Their conversational interludes run the gamut from fashion to what heaven is like.
"Everything's free," Violet fantasizes about the afterlife, "or at least wholesale."
They take their assignments from Russ (Danny Trejo) and pedal to some of their assignments by tricycle. They share an apartment, fashion sense, world view — everything.
That world view gets shaken up when they're sent to kill a man (James Gandolfini) who doesn't dread their arrival. He welcomes it. And that throws them off.
But this "job" has a back story, one they piece together from a message on his answering machine. And there's another crew of much older men planning to murder this guy too.
Fletcher and his players never quite hit on a tone that works. Fantastical dream sequences and side trips to the store to get more bullets never quite rise to the level of wry commentary. This just isn't as cute and funny as Fletcher seems to think it is.
'Violet and Daisy' -- 2 1/2 stars
MPAA rating: R (for language, violence, disturbing behavior)
Running time: 1:28
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