Gun Shy

USA 2000

Reviewed by Rob White


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

DEA Agent Charlie's nerves are on edge following a violent drugs bust. In New York he enters group therapy to help him through his next case, undercover on a Mafia money-laundering scam. Small-time crook Fulvio has set up the deal; Colombian drug baron Fidel is financing it; Jason is the crooked dealer executing it. Charlie starts seeing Judy, a nurse who gives him an enema. Fulvio is mocked by his wife and her father, Don Carmine. The deal begins to unravel when Fidel is insulted by Jason's suggestion that they launder the money by buying Soya beans. Charlie tries to accelerate the bust but his boss Dexter refuses to jump the gun.

After the eventual success of the first laundering deal an even bigger scam is proposed by Jason who's secretly in cahoots with corrupt Dexter. Another DEA agent finds out about this but Dexter kills him before he can tell Charlie. Everybody plans to double-cross each other; the various plotters are about to have a violent showdown in a dockside factory, but Charlie's group-therapy partners prevent this by bursting in, dressed in fake FBI uniforms, brandishing toy guns. Fulvio gets away to Italy; Fidel swims off with his bodyguard lover; Jason and Dexter are arrested by the real FBI; Charlie, Judy and his friends from therapy sail off in a tugboat.


"I'm very sensitive to this Colombian coke-dealer stereotype," says the Colombian coke dealer Fidel in debut director Eric Blakeney's Gun Shy. Later Fulvio, his small-time mafioso partner in a money-laundering scheme adds, "I'm sick of being a cliché." Fulvio is trying to impress his sceptical father-in-law Don Carmine by setting up the deal, but what he really wants is to cultivate the soil in Italy. His wife mocks him when he can't grow tomatoes, and as she walks off he looks desolately at his lone, sickly fruit and sprays it with fertiliser, thinking no doubt - as we do - of The Godfather's Don Vito Corleone's altogether more impressive agricultural skills and the gardening implement Corleone's grandson sprays him with before he realises he's dead.

Gun Shy makes light comedy out of the premise that modern-day gangsters have all seen The Godfather and Miami Vice. As such it seems to resemble television's The Sopranos. But whereas The Sopranos brilliantly used the comedy of this premise as a way of reinvigorating gangster mythology, Gun Shy simply embellishes it for the sake of mild fun.

Liam Neeson stars as Charlie, a veteran DEA agent traumatised by a bungled drugs bust. In order to make it through his next assignment - working undercover on the deal Fidel and Fulvio are putting together - he enters group therapy with several frustrated corporate executives. (Another nod to The Sopranos, as well as to Analyze This.) It seems like Charlie's participation in therapy will derail the sessions since his traumas are so disproportionate to his fellow patients' (who are bothered by lack of promotion and office politics). In fact the men easily find common ground and therapy just becomes a convenient if unlikely pretext for them to bond, a neat device which keeps the plot moving. In an even more unlikely scenario, but one that's in keeping with the light comedic tone, Charlie starts going out with Judy (played by Sandra Bullock) the nurse who, having just given him an enema, decides the root of his troubles is his inability to enjoy the small things in life. Bullock produced Gun Shy and her wholesome persona pervades the film. Harmless jokes about flatulence abound, the plot makes reasonable screwball sense and the protagonists who aren't truly vicious end the film with their desires fulfilled: Fulvio gets his garden, Fidel abandons his family for his one-testicled bodyguard lover, Charlie and Judy sail into the sunset on board a tugboat.

Occasionally harsher notes creep in as if reminding us of reality. A young DEA agent who's been shadowing Charlie is found murdered in his car and another is killed before he can warn Charlie about a double-cross. But these are less moments of serious discordance than slight misjudgements by Blakeney (whose writing credits include episodes of television series Cagney and Lacey and Moonlighting): likewise the odd flashback sequences in which drug dealers being gunned down are seen by Charlie as ballet dancers spinning in mid air.


Eric Blakeney
Sandra Bullock
Eric Blakeney
Director of Photography
Tom Richmond
Pamela Martin
Production Designer
Maher Ahmad
Rolfe Kent
©Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Production Companies
Hollywood Pictures presents a Fortis Films production
Marc S. Fischer
Production Supervisor
NY Crew:
Andrea Isaacs
Production Co-ordinators
Cindy Hochman Price
NY Crew:
Dori Golod
Unit Production Manager
Garrett Grant
Location Managers
Eric Hedayat
NY Crew:
Dana Robin
Post-production Supervisor
Lisa Rodgers
2nd Unit Director
Raymond Prado
Assistant Directors
James B. Rogers
Molly M. Mayeux
Gregory Guzik
NY Crew:
Terry Ham
NY Crew 2nd Unit:
John Gallagher
Script Supervisor
Jacqueline R. Clay
Laurel Smith
Camera Operators
Jeff Mart
Robert Bennett
NY Crew:
Wayne Paull
Steadicam Operators
Jeff Mart
Kirk R. Gardner
NY Crew:
Jamie Silverstein
Visual Effects
Dream Quest Images
Special Effects
Ron Trost
Chris Nelson
Art Directors
Seth Reed
NY Crew:
Stephen Alesch
Set Designer
Domenic Silvestri
Set Decorators
Maurin Scarlata
NY Crew:
Harriett S. Zucker
Melanie Baker
Costume Designers
Mary Claire Hannan
Joel Voorhies
Costume Supervisor
Leslie Eve Herman
Wardrobe Supervisor
NY Crew:
Donna Maloney
Supervising Artist:
Pamela S. Westmore
Key Artist:
Cindy Williams
Melanie Hughes
Key Hairstylists:
Jasen Joseph Sica
NY Crew:
Nick Troiano
D.J. Plumb
Kim Santantonio
Main Title Design
Goodspot L.L.C.
Main Title Opticals
Custom Film Effects
Pacific Title/Mirage
Additional Music
Rick Ziegler
Bill Stromberg
Concert Master
Bruce Dukov
Tony Blondal
Additional Orchestrations
Kerry Wikstrom
Music Supervisors
Emily Kaye
Alex Patsavas
Steve Schnur
Executive in Charge of Music for Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group
Kathy Nelson
Executive Album Producer
Sandra Bullock
Music Editor
Nick South
Score Recordist/Mixer
John Vigran
"Blue Skies for Everyone", "Round & Round" - Bob Schneider; "Drunk Is Better Than Dead" - The Push Stars; "Voulez vous" - Arling & Cameron; "Start the Commotion" - The Wiseguys; "I'm Your Boogie Man" - K.C. & the Sunshine Band; "More Than Rain" - World Party; "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" - James Brown; "Tarantula" - The Scabs; "Staysha Brown" - The Scabs; "This Time" - Los Lobos; "More Than Rain" - Tom Waits; "Morrocan Home Show Part 1", "Morrocan Home Show Part 2", "Prepare" - Rhys Fulber; "Bossa for Jackie" - Fantastic Plastic Machine; "Honolulu Calcutta" - Fantastic Plastic Machine; "Caro mio Ben" - Helga Bullock; "Under the Sun" - Big Kenny; "No Time to Dream"
Juan Llano
Karen Russell
Sound Mixers
Geoffrey Patterson
NY Crew:
Frank Stettner
Bob Weitz
Mark Fleming
Re-recording Mixers
David E. Fluhr
Adam Jenkins
Samuel F. Kaufman
Larry Spotts
Supervising Sound Editor
Dave Hankins
Dialogue Editors
Lawrence Goeb
David Beadle
Sonya Henry
Jane Boegel
Sound Effects Editors
Andrew Ellerd
Michael Babcock
Bruce Tanis
Dean Drabin
Helen Luttrell
Alicia Irwin
Dawn Fintor
David Betancourt
Bob Newlan
Technical Adviser
Brian Mass
Stunt Co-ordinators
Doc Duhame
Mike Russo
Helicopter Pilot
Albert Cerullo
Liam Neeson
Oliver Platt
Fulvio Nesstra
José Zuñiga
Fidel Vaillar
Michael DeLorenzo
Estuvio Clavo
Andy Lauer
Jason Cane
Richard Schiff
Paul Ben-Victor
Gregg Daniel
Ben Weber
Sandra Bullock
Judy Tipp
Mary McCormack
Gloria Nesstra
Michael Mantell
Dr Eric Bleckner
Mitch Pileggi
Dexter Helvenshaw
Louis Giambalvo
Lonny Ward
Rick Peters
Dusty Kay
Jerry Stahl
Michael Weatherly
Dave Juniper
Hank Stratton
Frank Vincent
Carmine Minnetti
Frankie Ray
Taylor Negron
Cheemo Partelle
Joe Maruzzo
Warren Ganza
Aaron Lustig
Fulvio's neighbour
Tracy Zahoryin
Jason's girlfriend
Michelle Joyner
Elliott's wife
Manny Perry
Cheemo's bodyguard
David Carpenter
SEC Agent Cohler
Tommy Morgan Jr
SEC Agent Harris
Roy Buffington
FBI Agent Clemmens
Myndy Crist
Ramona Case
first class stewardess
Derek Sitter
waiter at night club
Ron Reaves
manager at bistro
Tracy Phillips
Natalie Webb
Jennifer Garrett
Lisette Boren
Edgar Godineaux
Dante Henderson
dancers at Cheemo's house
Redbus Film Distribution
9.092 feet
101 minutes 2 seconds
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS
In Colour
Prints by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011