Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Movie Review #499: "Masterminds" (2016)

Director: Jared Hess
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
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An armored truck driver (Zach Galifianakis) is coerced into stealing millions of dollars by a former co-worker (Kristen Wiig).

"Masterminds" is directed by Jared Hess, who is best known for his off-beat comedies "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Nacho Libre." His latest film is a comedy based on the true story of the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery. It brings together quite the hilarious cast, including Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones, and Jon Daly. With such comedic powerhouse cast, one would think "Masterminds" would be a quick, laugh a minute riot. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The entire story revolves around David Ghantt, played by Galifianakis, who is an armored truck driver and a very trusted employee. He is so trusted, in fact, he has keys to the vault and he isn't even a manager. He also isn't too bright and is a complete bumbler. Despite being engaged to McKinnon's Jandice, he falls for the flirty Kelly, played by Wiig. It's Kelly who coerces David into stealing millions, but it is really her friend Steve, played by Wilson, who masterminds the whole operation.

Most of the humor in this comedy comes from awkward exchanges between these various oddball characters, as well as a lot of visual gags featuring the most outrageous clothes, hairdos, wigs, or disguises the props department could find that looked even remotely 90's. And speaking of the 90's, there's a ton of other referential decade humor, including many "haha, remember pagers?," and "hey mom, why is that phone attached to a wall?" types of nods to now ancient technology. This is something we are used to seeing from director Jared Hess as these strange visuals were a big part of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Nacho Libre." For us, the strongest links come in the form of Kate McKinnon and her strange and quiet yet oddly commanding delivery, as well as Jason Sudeikis and his oblivious hit-man character, who is hired by Steve to off David. Sudeikis probably brings the most consistent laughs, and for the short amount of time McKinnon is on screen, the same goes for her as well. Surprisingly, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Zach Galifianakis have the weakest links comedy wise, even though they are the most developed characters.

Even though "Masterminds" manages to garner a sparse few laughs, they don't come nearly as often as we thought they would have from a movie with such a capable director and an impressive cast. The entire flick actually winds up being rather forgettable in the end, just another "oh yeah, that movie exists" kind of mediocre comedy. It's not so outrageously offensive that we're angry that we saw it, but it isn't exactly worth your hard earned cash.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 34%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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