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Running Time:
2 hours

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This dark psychological thriller features Kevin Costner and William Hurt in colorful performances, but it's an idiotic film full of ridiculous ideas and storylines.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Commentary by Kevin Costner, Jim Wilson, and Bruce A. Evans; Deleted Scenes with optional commentary; The Birth of a Serial Killer: A Look at the Writing of Mr. Brooks; On the Set of Mr. Brooks; The Bad Guys of Mr. Brooks; Music Video; Theatrical Trailer A; Theatrical Trailer B; Cat and Mouse: Inside the Mr. Brooks Case File; Trailers: Rescue Dawn, Live Free or Die Hard, Home of the Brave

Kevin Costner ... Mr. Earl Brooks
Demi Moore ... Detective Tracy Atwood
Dane Cook ... Mr. Smith
William Hurt ... Marshall
Marg Helgenberger ... Emma Brooks
Ruben Santiago-Hudson ... Hawkins
Danielle Panabaker ... Jane Brooks
Aisha Hinds ... Nancy Hart
Lindsay Crouse ... Captain Lister
Jason Lewis ... Jesse Vialo
Reiko Aylesworth ... Sheila
Matt Schulze ... Thorton Meeks

Mr Brooks
Most people know Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner "Dances with Wolves") as the founder and owner of the Brooks Box Company. Recently named Portland's Man of the Year by the local Chamber of Commerce, he appears to all who know him to be a good citizen, reliable husband and father. His wife Emma is played by Marg Helgenberger (TV's "CSI") and his daughter Jane is played by Danielle Panabaker (TV's "Shark")

We soon learn that Earl is secretly slaughtering an increasing number of Portland's citizens because of an addiction of which he is trying to rid himself. He is killing young lovers in the act of making love and posing their dead bodies. This character flaw is supposedly caused by his alter ego whom he calls Marshall (William Hurt "A History of Violence"). Marshall is continually urging him to keep on with his killing spree. The two discuss murder methods and the care to take so as to not get caught. Costner and Hurt have great chemistry together, being equally funny and frightening. They are also rather likable, no matter how heinous "their" crimes. And, they both seem to derive great pleasure in what they do. But there is a witness to Brooks' latest double murder; a peeping-Tom who had been photographing Earl's latest victims from his apartment window nearby. The photographer is a weird, nerdy mechanical engineer, called Mr. Smith (Dane Cook "Employee of the Month"), who turns up at Earl's office to show him his incriminating photographs. He blackmails Earl into taking him along on his next murder, saying that he simply wants to watch him operate.

There are also two additional, parallel plots. One concerns Detective Tracy Atwood (a tired-looking Demi Moore "Indecent Proposal"), a cop trying to track down the "thumbprint killer" (Mr. Brooks). But she is distracted by a messy divorce, threats of removal from the case by her superiors and by another serial killer on the loose, whom she originally put away and has vowed to kill her. This killer (Matt Schulze ("The Fast and the Furious") is as crude and gory as Mr. Brooks is suave and sophisticated. This storyline has a completely different style, fast-paced, loud and jarring. The third plot concerns Mr. Brooks' college drop-out daughter Jane who just might have picked up a trait or two from dear old dad. Some of the film's weirdest moments come from this part of the story.

This is the second film directed by screenwriter Bruce A. Evans ("Stand by Me") from a script he wrote with his longtime partner Raynold Gideon. It's shot with a dark ambience, filled with ominous shadows, but there is so much plot and so many ridiculous ideas that it soon becomes impossible to take seriously. Eventually the whole thing just implodes. Like a plane carrying too much weight, it simply crashes and burns. The movie is a missed opportunity, having all the ingredients of a delightfully twisted little thriller; but with all the improbable padding, it ends up being a complete disappointment.

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