Masterminds movie full length review - Stale and Utterly Incompetent
Welp, it looks like the dunderheads at the now bankrupt Relativity Media LLC. Are hell-bent in giving us yet another doozy before the year's end.
What kind of rightfully shelved prattle do they have for us to mull over and regret buying a $10 ticket for this week? A Zach Galifianakis helmed caper comedy about a love-struck loser turned armored truck robber co-starring Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson? That doesn't seem so bad.
Well it gets bad folks, real bad. The kind of bad that gives even the most forgiving audience the urge to check their messages before sneaking into Storks (2016) to "check on the kids." Masterminds is an unholy mix of good ideas and concepts made painfully unfunny due bad editing, sloppy storytelling and an over-reliance on the same- old ugly American jokes not funny since Bush was in the White House.
The bang adorned Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, a trailer park doofus whose job as an armored car driver fills his head with notions of tense Mexican standoffs and Lee Marvin inspired bravado. His regular partner Kelly (Wiig) passively encourages his flights of fancy, joining him at the shooting range for target practice and openly discussing what she'd do if she was Phillip Johnson; a Loomis Fargo employee that tried to run off with $18 million. Convinced by Kelly's womanly charms and a heist plan masterminded by Kelly's friend Steve Chambers (Wilson), Ghantt decides to follow directives to steal the cash from the Loomis Fargo vault and run off to Mexico for a lovers' rendezvous.
On paper, Masterminds has a decent amount going for it. The movie's story attracted quite a few members of SNL's (1975-present) present star lineup including Kate McKinnon as Ghantt's awkward wife, Leslie Jones as the fussy lead FBI investigator and Jason Sudeikis as a frightfully obtuse hit-man. The film is directed by Jared Hess the man responsible for bringing deadpan anti-humor into the mainstream with Napoleon Dynamite (2004)?so clap if you're into that. Mix in Galifianakis's personal brand of cringe-antics and Owen Wilson's inference to his character in Bottle Rocket (1996) and you got yourself quite a lot to root for.
Unfortunately, this film is much like a foul smelling casserole made with biscuits, Funions and eight-year-old Velvetta; individually each component sounds appetizing enough but clumping all these things together creates a slurry of colon clogging flotsam. The stranger than fiction tale of the Loomis Fargo robbery could have been, should have been a movie about class dispossession. Lacking that, it could have scored some points simply by dialing up the wacky. Yet Hess's inability to graduate his images from weird to laugh-inducing, mutes the good stuff from hitting its frequency. Nowhere is this more clear than when Galifianakis dons bad disguise after bad disguise in order to blend in.
Everyone in this film shamelessly acts out their best Joe Dirt (2001) impression, likely enjoying each other's company to the detriment of the audience. In so doing, they come up no funny lines or endeavor to make their characters anything more than poorly defined caricatures. The film then pads the narrative's plot-points to the brink; insuring whatever tiny morsels manage to get a giggle remain few and far between. By the time the robbery takes place (a mire half-hour into the film), all humor has ceased and all opportunities for humor have long choked on the lack of oxygen,
In a confounding moment of stupidity, Ghantt fumbles into the back of his armored truck and locks himself in, just as he's getting ready to leave. Seeing Ghantt panic and struggle to breathe at that moment is in many ways the perfect metaphor for this film. Clustered, confused, angry with himself and shambling to find the gears in the next compartment, Ghantt, like the audience feels stuck in a situation that should have never happened. This movie should have never happened.