Despite a smasheroo turn by Pierce Brosnan as the panic-attack prone, barely legal-loving dissolute assassin Julian, The Matador sets the bullshit meter pinging in the red as often as it amuses. Part of this is due to its milking Julian for possibly homo-laffs--we first meet him stealing and applying nail polish to his toes from the purse of an unconscious lay. The possibly queer steam builds when Julian meets salesman Danny (Greg Kinnear) and the two share cock jokes, cocktails, and even more chemistry. Mainly thanks to both stars' terrific turns, the movie floats on this conceit like vaguely naughty confetti into a semistandard mismatched buddy flick, but at a crucial point, director Richard Shepard decides not to address its homophilia and, interestingly and disturbingly, his concurrent theme about moviegoers' assumed predilection for finding adorableness in the killing kind. Shepard shortchanges his cast's fine work--also terrific is Hope Davis as Danny's horndog wife--and The Matador's darker inclinations with what's not much more than a calculated, cowardly, and maudlin version of "I Love You Just the Way You Are."