Cameron Diaz Plays A Criminal Mastermind In The Counselor, And That’s Not Even The Movie’s Biggest Problem

The Counselor Cast


The Counselor is a confusing clusterfuck of a movie. While I’m going to follow that sentence up with several others, that’s honestly all you really need to know about this movie. Despite starring Michael FassbenderJavier Bardem,Brad Pitt  andPenelope Cruz, it’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year. How they possibly convinced all these actors to sign on for this makes no sense. All I can figure is that they told each of the actors that they were making completely different movies, then they mashed them all together and were like, “wah lah! We shall call it The Counselor.”

For example, someone told Cameron Diaz she would be starring in a Lifetime movie about a vengeful woman who marries rich men and then kills them for their money. (Also that she could use Joe Pesci’s gold tooth from Home Alone.)  Javier Bardem was told he was starring as “the before” in a commercial for a new hair product and Brad Pitt was told that he would be starring in a comedy about a hot guy who gets stuck in his creepy uncle’s body. Sound confusing? I know! Imagine sitting through this mess for two hours. No, don’t imagine. I’m going to spoil it for your right here and right now. And yes there’s a spoiler in the title, but guess what, I did that for you. Save $10 this weekend and DO ANYTHING ELSE. Yell at me in the comments, I don’t care. I’m like your Mom right now and I’m essentially grounding you because I care about you. 

So let’s get to this.

Michael Fassbender’s a counselor. We know this because he’s ONLY referred to as “Counselor” in the movie. To the point that his character doesn’t even have another name.

Michael Fassbender The Counselor

It’s all “hey Counselor” and “do you know what you’re getting into Counselor?” and “Counselor, don’t get into this.” I’d almost suggest that you play a drinking game where you take a shot every time someone says “counselor,” but then I fear I’d be liable for your death. So Counselor is in love with Laura (Penelope Cruz). We know that that he’s in love with her because we get to watch him finger bang her in the first scene of the movie. I hate the phrase finger bang, but that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I watched it. He then travels to Amsterdam to buy her an extremely expensive engagment ring. So he’s either very rich or very unaware that there’s a Jared’s in his local mall. Then he hangs out with Reiner (Javier Bardem and Javier Bardem’s Great Wall of Hair) who implies that he and The Counselor are about to get involved in some very illegal business. Also I should tell you that Reiner’s head over heels for his girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz). Even though, twist, Malkina’s just playing him to get her hands on a bunch of drugs.

Want another twist that will haunt your nightmares? Okay, There’s a scene in the middle of this whole mess where Reiner tells Counselor about the time Malkina had sex with his windshield and made him watch from the passenger seat. “It was like watching a catfish,” he says as we watch a flashback of it happening. “Why did you tell me that story,” the Counselor asks on behalf of the audience. “I don’t know,” says Reiner. And tell you what, we never know. An hour after that story the movie ends and we still don’t know why we had to SEE it. But sorry, back to the other part of the movie that makes no sense.

Westray (Brad Pitt) also works with Reiner. But not. He’s a lone ranger in the illegal drug trade biz. But not, because he does work with Reiner. And no that job description isn’t me falling asleep while typing, that’s exactly what it is. They’re somehow getting Counselor involved in this shipment that entails transporting 20 million dollars of drugs from Mexico to Chicago. How he’s involved is never made clear. Why he’s risking getting involved is also something that’s never made clear. What is made clear is that when something goes wrong with the drug deal, he’s the one in trouble for it.

At this point, I guess we’re supposed to be worried for Counselor because he’s in a lot of trouble with a whole lot of murderous men. But since we never know how or why he’s involved or actually ANYTHING else about him, we don’t care. Kill him, don’t kill him, I’ll still be able to sleep at night. But I know, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with the drug deal. Okay, I’ll tell you.

Malkina (remember, this is Cameron Diaz) hijacked Reiner’s shipment and stole it from him. Which wasn’t too hard considering that the twenty million dollars of drugs were sitting in a parked truck overnight. Then Malkina has new hijackers kill her old hijackers. For um, let me see, no reason. I guess suspense because we’re not supposed to know Malkina’s in control the whole time and we’re supposed to be stressed trying to figure out how this drug deal keeps going wrong. But when we find out that Malkina was behind it from the beginning, it makes zero sense that she kept sabotaging her own operation. It would be like if you watched all of Oceans 11 and then found out that Andy Garcia fucked over his own casino. I think, I don’t know. I honestly can’t think of a good comparison for this movie. I mean, besides calling it bad. You know “bad” right? Well, that’s this movie.

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    • elle

      I had high hopes for this movie cuz it has such a great cast (minus Cameron Diaz I just really don’t like her) but something about the trailer was so odd I’m not surprised it was terrible. And I can’t even say how the trailer was odd it just was….

      • Jenni

        The trailers never really explain the movie, which now makes sense since the movie’s about nonsense.

      • elle

        Ok now that you point that out I realize you are right! Fassbender proposes to Hayek then we get bardem with his weird hair then Diaz in slomo then Diaz and Hayek in a weird hinty lesbian moment…..mind blown! Nothing about the movie and so obvious now that it is pointed out.

      • elle

        Ok I’m so glad I know that Penelope Cruz is in this movie not Selma Hayek….I honestly don’t even know how I mixed those 2 up

      • Nazy Sheikh

        Ones Mexican and the other is from Spain

      • MammaSweetpea

        What I’ve found, lately, is that a movie full of really big actors, tends to backfire. The last one that worked for me, actually, was Oceans 11.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        I have thought that for years! It’s totally true!

    • Jill O’Rourke

      I already don’t approve of any movie that stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem as a non-couple.

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    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Your plan to save me from it is backfiring because now I must know how one has sex with a windshield? Did I even read that right?

      • Jenni

        Sadly for film, you read that right.

    • kevin

      I couldn’t agree more with Jennie. This movie had such potential with a great cast and an interesting premise. Did they run out of money? spend it all on their stars? what we saw was basically an unfinished film, poorly edited, scenes that clearly needed more takes. there was even one early scene where the audio of one of the actors was horrible because the mic was rubbing on his clothes. the casting was interesting. but the lead role for the counselor, really was poorly cast, that guy was horrible, who knows maybe he was being directed horribly. nothing could prevent this movie from being the total disaster it was.

    • Donovan.

      Saw this last night. I’ll agree, not the best executed film and Diaz was miscast in that role. But, not that hard to follow.

      Diaz’s character doesn’t re-hijack the shipment, the original cartel does that. Think of Diaz as her own group.

      Pitt’s character is providing the buyer (the guy in Chicago talking to of all people, John Leguizamo). Fassbender & Bardem are buying the drugs from the Cartell and shipping them to Chicago. So think of it as 4 groups; Diaz, Pitt, Fassbender & Bardem, and the Cartel.

      The problem comes when The Green Hornet gets killed by Diaz’s group (whom the Cartel doesn’t know about), the Cartel assumes it’s Fassbender & Bardem trying to double-cross them and decides to take them out as well as Diaz’s people to get control of their shipment again. They think it’s the Counselor because he just happened to bail out The Green Hornet (Rosie Perez’s son).

      The drugs make it to Chicago, thus Pitt gets paid, he runs just incase the Cartel comes after him. Cruz get’s taken (and snuffed) and Bardem gets hit by the Cartel. Diaz goes after Pitt because she knows he’s got the money plus his savings and then disappears (apparently to Hong Kong). Fassbender gets out initially, but basically finds out that the Cartel is doing more damage to him by killing & mutilating his fiance’.

      But, you’re right, you are dropped in the middle of this thing like a David Mamet play and expected to catch up, which is difficult.

      Diaz is just wrong for this part. She has the look, but her voice and delivery just don’t work. The script was also pretty green and needed work, the production did seem rushed as well. I wonder how much of an effect Ridley Scott’s brother’s death had on the production (he died in the middle of shooting).

      Like No Country for Old Men, what McCormak is getting to occurs 2/3rds through the movie. The scene where Fassbender is on the phone with a Cartel member and they are talking about trying to change the results of choices already made. It’s supposed to be the equivalent of the scene where Tommy Lee Jones is talking to his Uncle (I think) about retiring and how the world has changed. Unfortunately it gets lost in the rest of the movie. I wonder how this would have been different if the Cohen brothers has directed this as well.

    • tadaa

      Amazing that you missed a vital part of the plot that was so obvious. Diaz DID NOT hijack her own stolen shipment again, it was the cartel that sent the fake “police” to take back the drug shipment that Diaz (the “mastermind”) stole and thus Fassbender, Bardem and Diaz were all blamed for it (since the cartel “doesn`t believe in coincidences. They have heard of them, but never seen one” as Pitt`s character says). Diaz killed Pitt because she lost the shipment to the cartel but she still wanted money.

      • Pat MaCrotch

        Then what was the who point of stealing the shipment in the first place? Would she have had a means of fencing all of those drugs? What would she have done with them?

        If stealing Brad Pitt’s money was so easy then why wasn’t that the plan from the get go? Just dangle some pussy in front of Brad and get his bank info and kill him and take his money? Hell, if she is so could at that why didn’t she steal all of the counselor’s and bad hair dudes money?

        She would have only had to pay some runner dude/hitmen and not all the other people she had to include. Also, why does she have all these people that work for her? Does she have her own cartel?

        The story was crap.

    • ring shake

      I guess everyone only saw the rated version. The unrated version is vastly more entertaining.

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    • M Ann Brown

      Cameron Diaz is BRILLIANT as Malkina, the deadly predator. How you can discount her role in this film as awful just shows the limitations of your own mind. A very hard role to play, especially with the eyes…but Ms Diaz pegs it, Perfectly. Her character is mezmerizing! I hope she gets nominated for awards for being so deadly as Malkina. And as far as the film as a whole…well, we all need to take heed as to each decision we make….it might turn out deadly on down the Line. Very well written by Cormac McCarthy, as was No Country For Old Men. (Surely, you liked THAT one?!?!)

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I did like No Country For Old Men. Whom did Cameron play in that one?

      • Pat MaCrotch

        Can’t agree here. Diaz was not the right person for the role, at all. Her voice alone didn’t even work. It had too much of her normal “bubble” tone to it. She can play off a smart-ass bad-girl type… but not the super smart psycho criminal type.