Here's a movie the trailers and posters really didn't help. Quite the opposite, in fact. The trailer passing the film off as some kind of Farrelly Brothers-style farce mostly involving Sam Rockwell laughing his ass off and the posters misrepresenting the psychopaths in question and giving us one of the worst taglines you'll ever hear:
"They Won't Take Any Shih Tzu"
The film itself is actually closer to something like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: a clever, sharply written, funny little dark comedy with an almost poetic look at its seemingly cartoonish characters. Colin Farrell is a depressed alcoholic writer trying to write a script for a film incidentally called "Seven Psychopaths", but he's stuck and needs to find several more psychos before he can finish it. His dog-kidnapping friend, played by a scene-stealing Sam Rockwell, is very keen to help, though, by ANY means necessary. By stealing a nutty Woody Harrelson's dog, this begins a chain reaction which leads them to meet a good bunch of psychopaths including a rabbit-carrying Tom Waits. Christopher Walken is also one of 'em and delivers his lines the way you'd expect Christopher Walken to deliver them.
And it's awesome.
The first half of the film is pretty darn good with the main plot being shared with some cinematic sequences outlining some of Farrell's ideas for the script. One of them involves a Vietnamese priest and a hooker, another involves a mysterious red-hooded serial killer... killer, it's all great stuff and helps build a semi-serious undertone to an otherwise quite light-hearted flick. It's all rather playful in spirit, though, and whether characters are revealed to be psychos or not, you still end up liking them. The fun all-star cast certainly helps. The film's second half takes a different approach as we spend most of our time in the desert with the three leads just shooting the shit. The movie's very self-aware and gets why taking such a daring turn might alienate some but it goes for it anyway and frankly it works fine, the pace of the film just slows down a little. This second half won't work for everybody, truthfully, but I enjoyed it and I'm sure a lot of you will too.
Overall, Seven Psychopaths is most definitely worth a look. It's not the dumb knockabout paper-thin comedy you've been led to believe that it is and in fact is way smarter and darker than you'd expect. The whole dog-kidnapping thing is really not the focus of the film and is just one quirky plot thread among many, many other, better ones.
In a good way.