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Adding their own mix of personalities, motives and complications to the brew in typical Elmore Leonard fashion are Vinnie Jones as Lou Harris, Ray's construction foreman and unofficial enforcer who gets the whole mess started by provoking Jack into a public brawl; Bebe Neuwirth as Ray's unhappy wife, Alison; and the versatile Charlie Sheen as Bob Jr., Ray's ineffectual flunky who has the thankless duty of keeping an eye on Nancy for the boss.

"You are a knockout… I mean in a slutty kind of way,” is Bob Jr.'s idea of a suitable compliment for Nancy. Not only is he completely out of her league, he's also married and under orders from his boss to see that Nancy behaves herself – none of which prevents him from being hopelessly in love with her and filling every conversation with a blend of clumsy innuendo and false bravado that's his best effort at flirting. The fact that she tolerates him at all probably means she might need him for something. Eventually. Or maybe she's just keeping her options open.

Currently starring in the hit comedy series Two and a Half Men, Sheen's flair for humor is well known from such feature projects as Men at Work and the memorable parodies Hot Shots!, Hot Shots! Part Deux and Loaded Weapon 1, and he brings that clever self-deprecating wit to play in the role of over-worked and under-appreciated Bob Jr. "Nancy only cares about one thing, and that's the ultimate scam, rush – you know, the big bounce,” he says in describing how Nancy uses and abuses Bob Jr. to suit her whim of the moment. "And Bob falls for her – hook, line and sinker.”

In contrast to Sheen's usually suave screen persona, Bob Jr. is a klutz; earnest but untalented, passionate but frustrated, and apparently unaware that his mustache is not doing his face any favors. The lip-warmer was Sheen's own idea, "kind of a disguise element,” he says, in fitting with the tone of the story. "In this kind of movie,” the actor remarks, "I think it helps that people are a little offbeat in their appearance.”

As Alison, Ray Ritchie's pampered but miserable spouse, multi-talented Bebe Neuwirth makes her onscreen appearance by climbing unsteadily out of a helicopter onto uneven ground in high heels, suggesting that in more ways than one she is an accident waiting to happen. From that moment forward, she is rarely seen without a drink in hand. "She's very wealthy and pretty unhappy and she's a drunk. She drinks all the time,” says Neuwirth, who counts among her numerous career accomplishments a Tony Award for her role as Velma in the Broadway production of Chicago and two Emmys for bringing the acid-tongued Lilith so vividly to life in the long-running series Cheers.

Like Ray, Alison's arrival is preceded with a fair amount of discussion and speculation about who she is and what she wants. "We know a lot about her,” offers Neuwirth, but wisely adds that "often what you hear about a person is not necessarily the truth,” or the complete picture.

Meanwhile Vinnie Jones as Lou skulks around in a foul mood and a neck brace left over from his scuffle with Jack. Even with this temporary incapacity, he still makes a formidable figure and continues to menace Jack like a growling pit bull at every meeting. The charismatic British actor, who gained international recognition for his role in Guy Ritchie's offbeat crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and went on to star in a number of high-profile features including Gone in 60 Seconds and Swordfish, says good-naturedly, "This is the first movie in which I've actually been beaten up. I would like the people at home to note that I'm not planning to make a habit of this.”

He needn't worry. As co-star Owen Wilson readily admits, "I don't think I could beat Vinnie up in real life. I truly had my hands full even in the movie and I had to have a baseball bat or Morgan Freeman holding him back. It was hardly a fair fig


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