Just when you thought any movie in which Dane Cook may become serial-killer fodder can't be all bad, along comes writer-director Bruce A. Evans' Mr. Brooks to spoil all your fun. The titular Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner) is Portland, Ore.'s man of the year, a box mogul (not kidding) with a beautiful house, a beautiful wife (Marg Helgenberger), a beautiful daughter (Danielle Panabaker), and a private studio where he works on ceramics. Oh, and he's also got this alter ego/invisible friend/whatever named Marshall (William Hurt) who pushes Brooks to do what he really wants — which is his unknown life as the thumbprint serial killer, who sneaks into people's homes, shoots them, poses the corpses for private photo sessions, and then disappears leaving no clue save a solitary thumbprint. Hard-nosed detective Atwood (Demi Moore) has been forever on his trail, and his latest prey may have been observed by a pervy peeping tom (Dane Cook), who contacts Brooks asking to go on the next killing adventure. The rest of the movie interweaves a curious subplot about the beautiful daughter and many a serial-killer training session with Cook and Costner before rippling to its rather-too-pat conclusion. An enticing idea lurks beneath the surface of Mr. Brooks — the idea of Costner's great-man goodness being maintained only through pathological ritual — but director Evans is more interested in the usual procedural frights. Too bad.

Bret McCabe writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to

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