Gun Shy

You’d have to classify “Gun Shy” under the “it didn’t bug me, and nobody got hurt” category.

Charlie (Liam Neeson) is an undercover cop (or perhaps government agent; the movie’s not real clear on this) who’s got a bad case of the nerves. Seems his partner got killed during the last case, and the fact that he’s still pursuing the same case — trying to infiltrate a Mafia drug ring — has his stomach tied in knots.

Or actually, more specifically, it’s got his bowels all aflutter: He spends a good portion of the movie experiencing gurgling in that area, and then rushing to the bathroom. He’s not happy with this life, and he wants out.

He gets psychiatric help, and winds up in group therapy. He also starts to fall in love with Judy (Sandra Bullock), his enema nurse. He also begins to realize the ultimate irony: The bad guys aren’t happy, either. Which means no one, good or bad, is getting much out of life.

Fulvio Nesstra (Oliver Platt) is the chief bad guy, and for as tough-talking as he is, it’s his wife, Gloria (Mary McCormack), who dominates him — not to mention his crime-boss father-in-law.

Charlie actually succeeds in helping Fulvio hammer out a deal with a couple of gay Colombians, which is what his mission was: Once the deal is about to happen, Charlie’s law-enforcement guys can come in and do the bust. There’s at least one fly in the ointment, though, including a good guy who turns out to be a bad guy.

This is an unfocused, weirdly constructed film. The angle with Sandra Bullock’s character is strangely underdeveloped. If it is she who helps Charlie overcome his nerves and find happiness, then she should probably get more than the 10 minutes of screen time she gets. She’s just sort of THERE, being chipper, and evidently putting a spark back in Charlie’s life, though you’d be hard-pressed to find anything actually in the movie that supports that.

There’s also the psychiatric angle, which figures into the main plot eventually, but which doesn’t really go anywhere otherwise. It doesn’t provide laughs, it doesn’t provide insight. Like Sandra Bullock, it’s just sort of THERE.

Fulvio is the only funny character, thanks to Platt’s dedication to the role. Lack of dedication, in fact, is what kills the rest of the film. None of the actors, Neeson included, seem to want to commit to what they’re doing. They’re probably right that the script isn’t very good, but refusing to give it the ol’ college try certainly isn’t going to help any. Many a so-so script has been made to seem funny by actors who performed it with gusto, rather than holding back, which is what everyone here is doing.

The film’s ending is fun, truly jolly and enjoyable. The rest of the movie is fitfully amusing, with occasional laughs. “Gun Shy” isn’t terribly slow, nor is it annoying or abrasive (well, there might be a few too many bathroom references). You could watch it or not watch it and it would have the same effect on your life either way.

C- (; R, abundant harsh profanity, abundant bathroom.)