It's getting to the point where ``buddy movie" might stop sounding like a dirty word to serious film buffs -- at least, if we keep seeing releases like ``Sideways" and now the Pierce Brosnan-Greg Kinnear oddity ``The Matador" (2005). Brosnan leaves Bond way, way back in his custom Beemer's rear view mirror as Julian Noble, a lonely, smarmy hitman on the verge of a personal meltdown. He finds an unlikely rock to cling to in Kinnear's Danny Wright, a shlubby good-guy businessman who happens to be drowning his own weighty sorrows at the same Mexican hotel bar. Brosnan is hardly ego-tripping when he remarks in his commentary that the kooky image of him strolling through the hotel lobby in boots and a Speedo has become iconic, thanks to endless promo play. But writer-director Richard Shepard's story has more to offer: in addition to some surprisingly effective drama and a sweet supporting turn by Hope Davis as Danny's wife. Brosnan has another quick-hit image-shredder, something even more offbeat than his walk of no shame.
Extras: Shepard provides solo commentary as well as a second track with his two stars. The yuks they share tend to be more inside than infectious, but it's clear that there was significant offscreen compatibility behind the movie's zing. There are, however, occasional awkward-seeming moments. Wethinks Shepard protests too much when he insists that a close-up shot of a martini shaker was just coincidence, and you can sense what Brosnan thought of a nudge-nudge Bond joke that was considered elsewhere. Meanwhile, as the group reviews a mood-changing scene in which Julian speaks of his wife's untimely death, no mention is made (understandably) of Brosnan having endured a similar real-life ordeal. A routine production featurette is also included. (