Rated PG-13 - Running time: 1:52 - Released 4/30/99

This film is aptly named. They lure you in with the trailer full of clever lines and cool effects, you pay your hard-earned money, and then you're stuck. Sean Connery, who has sunk lower and lower into the morass of action movie clichés lately, continues his slow descent with audible sucking sounds. Meanwhile Catherine Zeta-Jones appears in yet another movie where her good looks are obviously the main reason for her presence. Jon Amiel's Entrapment is dumb, like Armageddon and Jackal dumb, like Desperate Measures and Peacemaker dumb, with high-energy, low-credibility situations and a love story showing all the spark of a wet match.

An original Rembrandt is stolen from a New York skyscraper by a mysterious burglar. The insurance company responsible for the painting sends its best undercover agent, Gin Baker (Zeta-Jones), to investigate. But when criminal mastermind Robert "Mac" MacDougal (Connery), the prime suspect, catches her following him, she tells him she's actually a thief, and she has big plans for the two of them.

She wants to steal a priceless, ancient Chinese mask from the well-guarded Bedford Palace. But she needs his help. Mac has the technical knowhow to break in and foil the system, and he also has apparently unlimited access to every kind of robbery equipment known to man. If this job goes well, Gin will let Mac in on the BIG caper: At the strike of midnight on New Millenium's Eve, she plans to reprogram the computers of the International Clearance Bank of Kuala Lampur, so that they will automatically deposit small amounts from branches all over the world into the account she has established. (Didn't we hear this same idea in Office Space?) The payoff should be about $8 billion, which she plans to share with Mac. Meanwhile, of course, she's telling her boss (Will Patton) that she's just playing Mac for a sap so they can bust him for the BIG caper.

During their time together, Mac and Gin build an excruciatingly dull relationship, with him bossing her around and her learning an idiotic ballet she must know to avoid the laser beams at the museum. The mask heist is dumb enough, but the following Kuala Lampur business is nothing short of ridiculous. Mac and Gin are so darned smart, everything comes easily to them. They outsmart the cops; they outsmart the bank software; they outsmart each other. They hang from wires 100 stories up; they elude SWAT teams; they appear and disappear like Colonel Flagg from M*A*S*H.

Written by William Broyles Jr. from a story by Ronald Bass and Michael Hertzberg, Entrapment ensnares us in a movie theater and won't let go until we've endured almost 2 hours of nauseatingly "clever" banter, a boring but obligatory love affair, and a high-pressure storyline that grows more implausible with each passing minute. **½

Copyright 1999 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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