The Mexican
Rating: * * Director: Gore Verbinski Running time: 123 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing

"Brad, meet Julia." And with that, the makers of "The Mexican" probably sat back smugly and started dreaming of box-office dominance. With casting like that, you could make a film called "Steaming Pile of Dog Poop" and still make millions. You could even make yet another post-Tarantino chatty gangsters and ironic violence quasi-indie flick with zero new ideas: Welcome to "The Mexican."

A decade on, and we're still getting "Reservoir Dogs" wannabes, but since this one bears the name of Tarantino's producer, Lawrence Bender, in the credits, expectations were high . . . well, higher than they'd normally be for a star vehicle by a graduate of the Nike/Budweiser/Coca Cola school of filmmaking like commercial director Gore Verbinski.

At a Tokyo International Film Festival party last fall, Bender -- wedged somwhere between the silicone wonders of the Kano Sisters -- described "The Mexican" as "edgy" and a bold move for Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Hardly. Pitt went much further out there with "Fight Club," while Julia was "edgier" in "Pretty Woman," although her shrill tone here may have you on edge by the time the credits roll.