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Warner Brothers
Official Site
Director: Les Mayfield
Producers: James G. Robinson, Bill Gerber
Written by: John Rogers, Roderick Taylor
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nathaniel Arcand, Kathy Bates, Scott Caan, Ronny Cox, Timothy Dalton, Ali Larter, Gabriel Macht, Will McCormack, Gregory Smith, Harris Yulin

Rating: out of 5

I’ll admit it, I was afraid I would not like this movie. The trailers seemed to indicate that this was the “Dawson’s Creek” version of the oft-told tale of Jesse James. I was pleasantly surprised to find that although AMERICAN OUTLAWS is definitely targeted towards the high-school and college crowd, it is rather entertaining, mostly due to its very likable (and photogenic) young cast.

In case you haven’t seen one of the more than 30 earlier films about this subject, here are the basics. Jesse James (Farrell) was one of the most legendary bandits of the Wild West. He and his brother Frank (Macht) led the James-Younger gang that robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches throughout the West from 1866 to 1881.

Naturally there is plenty of action in this movie involving horses, six-shooters, and dynamite. And of course there is a love interest for Jesse by the name of Zee Mims (Larter). There is even an arch-rival, Allan Pinkerton (Dalton), who founded the U.S. Secret Service and was assigned the task of stopping the gang. Unfortunately, Dalton’s portrayal of Pinkerton consists of doing a gruff Sean Connery impersonation that elicits laughs every time he delivers his lines.

Overall, unless you are a teenage girl with the hots for one of the young stars of AMERICAN OUTLAWS, this light and humorous retelling of the classic story is probably one that is best saved for video or cable.

—Sandhya Shardanand

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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