John Dahl ( The Last Seduction and Red Rock West) brings his distinctive brand of tar-black comedy to this tale of a Mafia hitman (Ben Kingsley) whose drinking habit has caused him to foul up once too often. His boss dispatches him to San Francisco, where he gets a job as mortuary assistant and joins an AA group, finding friendship (with Luke Wilson) and romance (with Ta Leoni) along the way.
Domesticating the mobster within society has become almost a commonplace, thanks to The Sopranos, but Kingsley's tight-lipped gruffness gives a lift to the mordant ironies of the script. Asked what he does for a living, the hitman replies, "I'm in personnel." "Hiring?" "More like firing."
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