Let’s start with an inexplicable detail from True Memoirs of an International Assassin: the titular novel is published as an e-book but only ever shown printed out. That’s the kind of sense and thoughtfulness you can expect from this Kevin James/Netflix production.
So – novelist pens action-hero story which gets misconstrued as truth, hilarious misadventure ensues. Well, not quite. Although the film has fun with the writing process, particularly at the start, including rewinds, pauses for thought and so on, the whole conceit quickly turns stale. The idea is good for a short or episodic format, but thinly stretched here.
When the author’s life imitates his literature, the film becomes boring – the audience has literally seen it before. Even if you don’t count the countless preexisting films of variable quality which True Memoirs apes, viewers are treated to watching matching scenes play out at least twice within the 90-minute running time.
Despite following such a well-trodden path, the film still manages to get lost. You know a film is truly stuck when its attempts to be meta by criticising its own cliche come across as even more cliched than the hoary tropes this “creative writer” churns out.
Kevin James is, however, better than expected. This may perhaps be because he is surrounded by overacting imbeciles and half-formed clones from other films. Pulled off with more paunch than panache, his out-of-depth average Joe is the mediocre best while the rest is a mess.
There was no need to make this film (especially considering Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix release), and there’s no need to see it either. It might be Kevin James’ most watchable recent film, but that doesn’t make it worth watching. Give this hitman a miss, man.
CAST: Kevin James, Maurice Compte, Andy Garcia, Kim Coates
DIRECTOR: Jeff Wadlow
WRITER: Jeff Morris
SYNOPSIS: After a publisher changes a writer’s debut novel about a deadly assassin from fiction to nonfiction, the author finds himself thrust into the world of his lead character, and must take on the role of his character for his own survival.