Burn After Reading

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Burn After Reading
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, J.K. Simmons
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: For the love of your children, leave them at home.
Date Movie: If she likes espionage and is kind of kinky.
Gratuitous Sex: Talk, The Liberator, and a chair.
Gratuitous Violence: Someone carries a gun and it goes off, and I’m not talking about his wiener.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Tons, once you get into it.
Memorable Scene: Harry might be a psychopathic killer!
Memorable Quote: Too many to quote.
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

And just when you think Harry (George Clooney) is a bad guy in “Burn After Reading,” you just come to realize that he really just wants to make his wife, and maybe some other women, happy.

Such is part of the twisted tale of “Burn After Reading,” a movie from the Coen boys, that takes a little bit of time to get going, but once it kicks in, be ready to laugh, be ready to shriek, and be ready to wonder if a boob job is really worth keeping a government secret.

The basic premise is that Osborne Cox (John Malkovich), married to Katie (Tilda Swinton), works for the CIA, but rather than getting demoted, he decides to quit, much to the dismay of Katie. But Osborne has a plan, and in a weird twist of copying information from a computer, a CD with information that looks like super-secret spy information falls into the hands of Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand). Chad and Linda are trainers at a local fitness center where Linda is obsessed with getting some plastic surgery to maintain her aging physique although she doesn’t have the cash, while Chad is just a dope, who is more fascinated in the game of having a super-secret spy CD, and if some money rolls his way, oh, what the hell?

So Chad and Linda begin their escapade to trade the CD back to Osborne, for a sizeable reward of course, but in the meantime events have been set in motion that will intertwine all of their lives, much to the confusement of the CIA superior dude, played by J.K. Simmons. It turns out that multiple people are sleeping with other people, some divorces are in play, and when government secrets are involved, as is the Russian consulate, things can get really weird, really fast, and as “Burn After Reading” ends up at its conclusion, well, you might wonder who you were really rooting for in this movie. That doesn’t matter because I think they all get what they deserve, except for maybe Chad, who got what he deserved only because he is a dope.

The thing with “Burn After Reading” is that as you are trying to get yourself through the first 30 minutes or so, you will probably be scratching your head quite a bit, wondering why, if he is sleeping with her, and she is looking for love on the internet, and he might be an alcoholic, well, how will these stories intertwine, but let me tell you, the Coen brothers do their best to weave a twisted tale of infidelity, government espionage, and sex furniture, into a fun-filled movie that if you let yourself go with it, and might just give you a laugh that will have that soda coming out of your nose if you take that drink at the wrong time.

I can understand people not liking “Burn After Reading,” but for me, I loved it. I didn’t 5 Star love it, because it did take a while to get moving, but Brad Pitt playing a dope was so spot on, the laugh I got with those in the theater that probably subscribe to magazines like Rolling Stone, Maxim, or Playboy was great, and as preposterous as most everything was in the movie, it just worked so well that I didn’t care once things started rolling. With all of that, and with a lot of weird laughter, I’m giving “Burn After Reading” 4 stars out of 5. It’s all adult fare, and fine, you can probably wait until the movie hits the DVD side, but I laughed a lot. Government espionage meets kinky sex. And Brad Pitt as a dope: If that intrigues you, you’ll probably like “Burn After Reading,” too.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!