September 06, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Comic Book Villains

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
Wide Release Date
01/01/02
performer
Donal Logue, Michael Rapaport, Natasha Lyonne, D.J. Qualls
director
James Robinson
We gave it a B

Two competing comic-book-store owners (Grounded for Life’s Logue and Boston Public’s Rapaport) vie for a fabulous comics collection inherited by Eileen Brennan. Played for laughs but escalating to gunplay, Villains does a good job of conveying comics’ obsessiveness, and why shouldn’t it? Written and directed by James Dale Robinson — writer of, among others, DC Comics’ Starman — the tone is very insidery; you have to know Comics Buyer’s Guide arcana to dig all the references. Still, the performances, especially by Logue and Natasha Lyonne, as Rapaport’s grasping wife, are inviting and subtle. Put it this way: It makes Unbreakable look like the work of a fanboy wannabe.

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