Entrapment

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Entrapment

In a film culture as youth-obsessed as this one, it's hard to grow old gracefully onscreen. For most leading men, getting older usually entails shifting gears and playing new, more culturally acceptable roles. James Stewart and Henry Fonda, for example, spent the last decade and a half of their lives playing grandfatherly types. Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra stopped making films years before they died. In Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman's recent movies, their advanced ages play crucial roles in their characters' lives. But in Entrapment, Sean Connery simply plays a slower, static variation on the sort of character he's played in countless films over the past 40 years. Connery stars as a wealthy high-stakes burglar who steals not because he has to, but because there would be no film otherwise. As part of what is apparently some sort of pre-retirement program for mobility-impaired burglars, Connery is teamed up with a younger, far more mobile partner (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who does all the actual physical labor while Connery stands glumly on the sidelines, looking like he'd rather be taking a nice bath. Entrapment is ostensibly some sort of action film, but perhaps out of deference to its sleepwalking star, it moves slowly and contains very little actual action. Connery has rarely coasted as vigorously on his iconic status as he does here, but coasting is all he or the film does vigorously. A caper movie so old-fashioned that you half expect it to be accompanied by a newsreel, a cartoon, and a serial, Entrapment asks little of its stars and even less of its audience. But even if it's never more than passable escapist fare, its slow-moving classicism is at least preferable to the frenetic irritation of such wretched, hyper-kinetic action blockbusters as Armageddon and Lethal Weapon 4.