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'Shooting Fish' has two guys, a girl, a few laughs and no story


If ever a film was insufferably quirky, it's "Shooting Fish," 93 minutes of idiosyncrasies masquerading as plot.

You've got two guys, one American and one British, who live in an abandoned gas storage tank. You've got a lovely young woman who's both a would-be doctor and the most gullible human on the planet. Put them together in a story that makes little sense and uses "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" as some sort of mantra, and audiences are supposed to pay to watch?

Dylan and Jez (Dan Futterman and Stuart Townsend) are former orphans who combine their talents -- such as they are -- to earn a living as con artists. Jackie (Kate Beckinsale) is the woman who blithely accepts the boys' explanation that all the money they squeeze out of people is going to charity.

Eventually, she figures out what's going on and ends up with the money herself. But since she's fallen for the awkward, but lovable, Jez, the question is: Will she keep it?

There's enough humor to keep things from becoming painful. Unfortunately, little of the alleged plot makes any sense -- it all ends up at a horse race that smells like something writers Richard Holmes and Stefan Schwartz (who also directed) came up with at the last minute -- and the actors (particularly Futterman as the brash American) aren't nearly as charming as they think.

Cute? Sure. Appealing? Not especially. Interesting? Nope.

'Shooting Fish'

L Starring Dan Futterman, Stuart Townsend and Kate Beckinsale

Directed by Stefan Schwartz

Rated PG (thematic elements, suggestive humor)

Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Sun Score: **

Pub Date: 5/22/98

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