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The Big Bang



For a review in a few hundred more, read on.

Private dick Ned (Antonio Banderas) is hired by a 7-foot Russian ex-con (wrassler Robert Malliet, "Sherlock Holmes") to locate Lexie Persimmon (Guillory), a to-die-for stripper who's been pledging her undying love to the prisoner as a pen pal. Strange thing is, her return address is a vacant lot.

A rather bloodied Ned relates all this via a framing device, as he's being questioned by authorities, including "Prison Break" baddie William Fichtner, who does whip-smart arrogance better than everybody. Woven into this web are a physics genius (Jimmi Simpson, "Date Night"); a diner waitress (Autumn Reeser, TV's "No Ordinary Family") with scientific illustrations tattooed all over her body, making for one super-strange sex scene as she orgasms while she talks protons and whatnot; and a reclusive billionaire (Sam Elliott, presumably readying for a Gregg Allmann biopic) intent on re-creating the titular event in an eight-mile collider he's built underground.

With quick bits from rapper Snoop Dogg and "Dawson's Creek" semi-survivor James Van Der Beek as, respectively, a pornographer named Puss and a mega-famous actor with a sexual kink for albino midgets, it's the kind of film that thinks itself far funnier and more clever than it actually is, reminding me of the litany of Quentin Tarantino knock-offs that popped up in "Pulp Fiction"'s wake. It's not bad, but needs more zip. Scenes are overly talky, without Tarantino's ear for crackling dialogue, and it all becomes a little too tough to follow, nipping at your enthusiasm.

Fake backgrounds excepted, "The Big Bang" bursts with a cool look — one that befits the rainbow-colored, neon-noir world whipped up by its creators, who've made several tongue-in-cheek thrillers for the straight-to-video, horror-leaning Raw Feed label.

Their greatest asset is Guillory. Perhaps best-known as Jill Valentine in "Resident Evil" chapters 2 and 4, she's a stunningly gorgeous woman who commands attention every moment she's onscreen. You can't take your eyes off her, not that you'd want to. I can see why director Tony Krantz saw fit to shoot her strip scene in slow-motion. —Rod Lott

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