Hit man Frank Falenczyk of Buffalo, NY, has a problem. It took him seven bullets to finish off one contract. With another, a woman this time, he intended to slit her throat but missed and slit her eye. He was so drunk he couldn't do his job. Frank is an alcoholic.
Life changes for Frank (Ben Kingsley) when his small-time mob boss, Roman Krzeminski (Philip Baker Hall), orders him to go to the West Coast and dry out...or else. You Kill Me is an amusing black comedy of Frank's journey to sobriety. He knows that unless he stops drinking he'll never be able to resume his profession. He joins AA and doesn't like it one bit. He gets a job dressing bodies in a funeral home. (Frank turns out to be quite good with make-up.) Tom (Luke Wilson), a nice guy who also attends the AA meetings, becomes his sponsor. He meets Laurel Pearson (Tea Leoni) when he works on her recently dead uncle. As Frank gradually loosens up and accepts the idea of friendship (and maybe more with Laurel), he maintains his commitment to his profession. "It isn't that I'm sorry I killed them," Frank says, "it's that I'm sorry I killed them badly." Frank is serious about maintaining standards and begins to discuss this with Laurel and at AA meetings. He points out that he never killed anyone who didn't deserve it. Fortunately, by now they've come to like Frank and overlook his faults.
The movie veers off course with a conclusion that brings Frank back to Buffalo for a shootout and some vengeance. Fortunately, Laurel shows up to help Frank. They may have quite a future...but doing what?
All this is handled with deadpan seriousness by Kingsley in a fine and very likeable performance. Kingsley was 64 when he made this movie. He is fit and capable as a leading man, a hit man or in bed with Tea Leoni. While Kingsley carries this deadpan comedy, the other actors, especially Leoni, provide a lot of support.