Mexican, The

Rated 3.0 A feckless small-time hood (Brad Pitt) is sent to Mexico on an errand for a mysterious gangster, while his feisty girlfriend (Julia Roberts) is held hostage by a gunman (James Gandolfini) to make sure he comes through. It’s a rollicking ride most of the way, but J.H. Wyman’s script is plot-heavy and too clever by half, with more surprises than logic and good drama can bear. Worse, Wyman makes the baffling mistake of keeping the two stars literally in different countries for most of the film; as a result, their wonderful comical rapport (they even look funny together) is only fitfully deployed. Director Gore Verbinski keeps things chugging skillfully along most of the time, but eventually the overly-dense plot leaves everyone panting and exhausted 15 minutes before the final fadeout.