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2 Days in the Valley

2 Days in the Valley (1996)

September. 26,1996
| Comedy Thriller Crime

In a sleepy bedroom community of LA's San Fernando Valley, the murder of a professional athlete by two hit men sets into motion a chain of events that puts the mundane lives of a dozen residents on a collision course. This clever tale tells the story of two hit men, a mistress, a nurse, a vindictive ex-wife, a wealthy art dealer and his lovelorn assistant, a suicidal writer and his dog, and a bitter cop and his partner.


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Perfect cast and a good story


It's no definitive masterpiece but it's damn close.


The film makes a home in your brain and the only cure is to see it again.

Rosie Searle

It's the kind of movie you'll want to see a second time with someone who hasn't seen it yet, to remember what it was like to watch it for the first time.


"2 Days in the Valley" is a great movie for anyone. If you like interesting story lines accompanied by amazing performances by very talented actors/actresses then you should watch 2 Days in the Valley. This movie packs a lot of star power with names such as Charlize Theron, Teri Hatcher, Eric Stoltz, Danny Aiello, Jeff Bridges and James Spader. The story revolves around the events surrounding different characters, all unrelated. The movie has many sub-plots and develops them all independently until they all merge together and we get the big picture. Throughout the movie, we learn important details that are all leading up to a great finale. The director threw in a lot of little interesting quirks, such as the murderous assassin smirking as he watches a cop sight down the barrel of a watergun, or a spiteful old man who we came to hate earlier slinking out of a Japanese pleasure house in the dead of night. The movie is very well written and very interesting, and if there is any problem whatsoever, it would have to be that at times the dialogue becomes a bit laborous and unrealistic. (Sometimes, it appears that the characters are explaining what's going on to the audience, rather than conversing with the other characters.) Nevertheless, this is a trite point, and distracts none at all from the movie's enjoyment.The cast, especially James Spader and Charlize Theron are top notch, but a crucial change made to "lighten" the movie tosses much of the plot out the window, robs one central character of his key motivation, and greatly hinders the film. Stoltz and Spader give the Best performances, both funny and real. Especially Spader, he virtually Carries the film. Charlize Theron, in one of her first films, is very, very attention-grabbing, through her looks and her abilities. Daniels and Hatcher appear too infrequently to be memorable. Aiello and Headly give equally likable performances that become the moral centre of the film. However, what makes this work is some clever dialogue and some satirical plot ideas, but mainly it is a tour de force of acting by a talented and highly professional cast. This is one of those movies in which every actor is a threat to steal the show at any time one way or the other. In a way it's a parade of cameos cleverly stitched together and then nicely edited.Overall rating: 8 out of 10.


I was answering a question about this film, which got me thinking about it, and I decided to write a review about it. In my opinion, this film is a crime classic, and I cannot believe "2 Days In The Valley" (TDINV) is not better known. If you look at the cast you will understand why. It starts with Lee Woods (James Spader), a super cool robotic hit man, and his partner Helga Svelgen (Charlize Theron), who is an ice cold evil blonde. They are hired to kill the husband of Becky Foxx (Teri Hatcher), so she can be on the US Olympic Team. They are promised $30,000 which is in the house to do so. Assisting them is hit man Dosmo Pizzo (Danny Aiello), who turns against them, when they set him up to be the fall guy. Spoilers ahead: Helga, gets killed by Becky after a nasty cat fight (She had it coming to her). Meanwhile, Dosmo ends up meeting Susan (Glenn Headley), who is constantly abused by her snobbish boss Allen Hopper (Greg Cruttwell), and treated worse than his dog. In my favorite scene, Dosmo discovers Susan is Italian (Something in six years, Greg never learned about her because he took no interest in her as a human being), and he cooks a meal (As he is holding them hostage), and has her sit at the table with him, while he eats on the floor with his dog. Other key characters are washed screenwriter Teddy Peppers (Paul Mazursky) who wanted to commit suicide after he found someone to take care of his dog, Nurse Audrey (Marsha Mason), and Detectives Strayer (Jeff Daniels) and Taylor (Eric Stolz).Spoilers: In the end, Lee ends up shooting Taylor, and Dosmo tries to rescue him, but cannot defeat Lee, and both will be killed, except Teddy shoots Lee dead. That action, enables him to get his confidence back and be able to start over with Audrey (Marsha Mason). One other point, about Peppers, you see in the final scene with Audrey, that he is very different than before, and will not only get a reward from the City for saving Taylor, but since he is in screenwriter, he can tell a story (leaving Dosmo & Susan out of course), that could get him a huge advance. Think about it: A Hollywood writer saves a cop, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal and all the rest would bid on that. I would figure, that should be worth six figures to him. Dosmo and Susan end up with the $30,000 and will go to New York to open a pizza shop (Taylor lets him have it, because he was willing to take a bullet for him (Essentially the hit man turns good guy because of his conscious)). A key theme of the film is second chances for people who were essentially washed up: Dosmo, Susan, Teddy, Taylor (He would have been dead except for Dosmo & Teddy), Becky (Who gets away with it), and last, but not least, Strayer who is abusive cop, who almost shoots a black guy (Due to his temper) and wants to commit suicide, but because of thinking about his daughter does not (He gets a letter telling him to turn in his Badge, for psychological reasons, but although unhappy, at least he tolerates it, and has a chance to get his act cleaned up (Based on the theme of the film, he does). Basically a crime classic 10/10 stars.

Lucien Lessard

Two hit men Dosmo Pizzo (Danny Aiello) and Lee Woods (James Spader) are making a hit on a cheating husband Roy Foxx (Peter Horton). Before they killed him, they drugged his ex-wife Becky (Teri Hatcher), who was sleeping next to her ex-husband. While Lee double-crossed Dosmo, which Lee thought he killed him by blowing out their car. But Dosmo escaped before the car exploded, now Dosmo finds himself in a nice house with an swimming pool but Dosmo isn't alone. Since he is taking hostage of an mean-spirited art dealer (Greg Cruttwell) and his assistant (Glenne Headly). While Lee went back to his hotel with his Normegian girlfriend Helga (Oscar-Winner:Charlize Theron). Now, the both of them are waiting for their money for their last hit. While two police detectives Wes (Eric Stoltz) and Alvin (Jeff Daniels), who hates each other finds themselves on a crime scene, where Roy died. But Wes thinks, there is something not quite right about the murder. While an suicidal TV Producer Teddy Peppers (Paul Mazursky) is trying to himself unsuccessful but in these two days in the San Frenando Valley nothing is what it seems.Written and Directed by John Herzfeld (The Death and Life of Bobby Z, 15 Minutues, Two of a Kind) made an entertaining Black Comedy that is sometimes very amusing but what makes the movie highly watchable is thanks to a sharp cast. The movie has some surprises and some good laughs. Aiello seems to be having one hell of a time in his role. While Mazursky (Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Moon over Parador, Moscow on the Hudson) steals the show in his supporting cast. Although not a box office success, "2 Days in the Valley" did manage to have an cult following.DVD has an sharp non-anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an good Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD has Cast Bios and the Original Theatrical Trailer. "2 Days in the Valley" is a film that is hardly original but it is clever. The cast are really good and it is nicely shot in Widescreen by Oliver Wood (The Bourne Trilogy, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Mr. Holland's Opus). There is some familiar faces in bit parts. The feature is certainly worth a look. Panavision. (****/*****).


Several plot lines involving a multitude of characters eventually come together in this quirky comedy. The cast is awesome, with almost every character played by a familiar face. Despite such a collection of stars, however, the film never really takes off. The main problem is the uneven script that tries to balance too many plot threads and too many characters. Also, although it has its moments, the comedy is not funny enough. Herzfeld, who has mostly worked in TV, is in over his head here on both the writing and directorial fronts. In her first screen credit, Theron is an alluring bad girl and engages in a cat fight with Hatcher!