This way you'll like the guy.
"Mr. Brooks," of course, is far from the only movie to bank on the appeal of its villain; some of the cinema's most memorable characters are bad guys.
Sometimes evildoers are even the protagonists, as in the "Godfather" movies and "The Sopranos," which offer moral complexity amid the entertainment. You find yourself relating to the humanity in characters who nonetheless are killers.
"Mr. Brooks" asks you to do the same but without the uncomfy feelings. When the movie starts, Costner is playing Earl Brooks as a tortoise-rimmed-glasses-wearing, recessive Pillar of the Community who, we soon learn, is at the mercy of a sickness. This sickness, literally personified by
But "at the mercy" and "movie star" are not phrases meant to co-exist for long. Soon Costner is dropping his dorky dad/husband act and transitioning into his standard charming-cad know-it-all performance. Mind you, Costner is a charismatic charming-cad know-it-all, far more appealing in such roles than those that exploit his savior complex. But does the world really need the "Bull Durham" of serial killers?
Evans, who co-wrote the screenplay with longtime writing partner Raynold Gideon, borrows from the
The movie further stacks the deck by pairing Mr. Brooks with Mr. Smith (Dane Cook), a youngish photographer who leverages his witnessing of a Mr. Brooks killing by persuading the murderer to let him tag along for the next kill. Mr. Smith plans to get his jollies this way, and given that Cook plays him with the petulance knob turned up to 11, you're clearly meant to hope that Mr. Brooks gets the upper hand over this creep. Voyeurs are much more objectionable than murderers, after all.
Also in the mix is
If you broke down "Mr. Brooks" in terms of structure, twists and momentum, you might give it high marks. The thing does move. To where is the problem.