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Alicia Silverstone Comes Up Empty In ‘Excess Baggage’

Paula Nechak Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Excess Baggage” is the first film to emerge from Alicia Silverstone’s company, First Kiss Productions. Unfortunately, the result is more of a peck on the cheek than anything that resembles a passionate embrace.

And while Silverstone rightly thought it would be smart to surround herself with a cream-of-the-crop sampling of indie film actors in her first outing, all she’s really done is magnify her own lack of gravity and weight as an actress.

It’s like watching an amateur tennis player take on Pete Sampras. Though it probably makes her game better, there’s no way she can hold her own against the seasoned company of Christopher Walken, Jack Thompson and Benicio Del Toro.

Too, even though Silverstone is 20, she looks younger. So there’s something a little creepy about pairing her up romantically with Del Toro, the30ish character actor whose career is on the upswing after “The Usual Suspects.”.

Silverstone plays Emily T. Hope, a rich, spoiled - and neglected - teenager, desperately acting out dramatic scenes in order to win the love and approval of her dad, Alexander (Thompson). Her latest melodrama, in which she has staged her own kidnapping, goes awry when her BMW is stolen by car thief Vincent Roche (Del Toro). The catch is, Emily is stashed in the trunk awaiting her father and the million dollar ransom.

Vincent and Emily are instant adversaries, but discover - as they’re chased along back roads by the cops, Vincent’s car thief accomplices and Emily’s ex-CIA assassin “uncle” Ray (Walken) - that they must join together if they’re going to survive.

Of course, the pair fall in love as they argue and fight their way to freedom. While it’s always been a common theme to have the battle of the sexes result in true love on screen, it feels awkward in “Excess Baggage.”

Part of the problem is the lack of chemistry between Silverstone and Del Toro. The rest is the ragged pacing of the film. There are clever moments when the movie springs to life (courtesy of Walken), but they can’t sustain the long lapses of banal, repetitious action.

xxxx EXCESS BAGGAGE Location: North Division and Spokane Valley Mall cinemas Credits: Directed by Marco Brambilla, starring Alicia Silverstone, Benicio Del Toro, Christopher Walken Running time: 1:38 Rating: PG-13

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