Parents' Guide to

White Elephant

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Lots of blood in slightly better-than-average Willis flick.

Movie NR 2022 92 minutes
White Elephant Movie: Poster

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This is one of the better Bruce Willis B movies, thanks to two engaging and likable lead characters (neither played by Willis), but the overall story is too ridiculous to declare it a success. Vanessa and Gabriel are both introduced as having painful pasts. Gabe is mourning his late wife and stops by her final resting place more than once. Vanessa is all nerves and carries a dark cloud over her head due to the violence she's experienced on the job. When they team up during the third act, it's a good match, and we actually begin to care for them, to root for their success. But the circumstances that lead to their collaboration make little sense.

Everything rests on Arnold, whose reckless and needless commands launch all the violence. ("I think he's losing it," says Carlos.) This scenario, when coupled with Willis' real-life aphasia, which affects language and comprehension, casts a cruel-feeling shadow over the proceedings. (His checked-out performance is more sad than cool.) The rest of the characters seem to have been neglected, too, including Carlos, who tries on different shades of cockiness with little success, and John Malkovich's lawyer, Follett, who shows up in a few scenes to talk about Greek history but doesn't seem to actually connect to the plot. It's an OK attempt, but perhaps this White Elephant should have packed its trunk and gone home.

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