88 Mins really is that bad

I remember last year seeing a poster in Cannes for 88 Mins – the Al Pacino thriller that has just opened in the US to universally awful reviews.

At the time I assumed it was one of the many promotional posters that adorn the Croisette during the festival, but it was actually one for the local cinema.

I remember thinking ‘why hasn’t it opened in the US or UK’ yet? The answer would appear to be that this was some kind of crazily financed vanity project that went horribly wrong.

Todd McCarthy of Variety points to some of the film’s glaring flaws:

88 Minutes can’t even live up to its title. With 19 — count ’em, 19 — producers, including director Jon Avnet, ensuring that every aspect of the film, from the script to the star’s haircut, is ludicrous in the extreme, the picture easily snatches from “Revolution” the prize as Al Pacino’s career worst.

Available on DVD in some territories as early as February 2007 and rolled out theatrically in France and elsewhere beginning in May of last year, this gape-inducing fiasco is getting a token domestic release that at least saves its star the indignity of a dump straight to homevid.

The presence of 19 producers is just one of the telling signs something was wrong in Pacinoville.

As the dodgy opening credits begin you know things are only going to get worse. And they do – with a vengeance.

The lowlights include:

  • A hammy early sequence involving milk and cookies
  • Pacino’s worst scene ever as an actor when he emotes in a car about a relative
  • Extended scenes that defy any internal logic (e.g. Pacino’s character is informed he has 88 mins to live and swans around like he’s been told it may rain later)
  • A ranty TV debate conducted via phone that is almost a parody of his shouty 90s performances
  • An utterly ludicrous climax that feels like an episode of Scooby Doo at the circus

Check out the other reviews here at Metacritic.