A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.
Billy Bob Thornton,
Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can't bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective, is recruited to close the case.
In the middle of Alaska, travel agent Paul Barnell is near bankruptcy. Desperate to help himself and his beloved, mentally-ill wife Margaret, Paul discovers a dead body and passes it off as his missing brother Raymond, whose life is insured for up to $1,000,000. Everybody is duped, except for workaholic insurance investigator Ted Waters, who sets out to expose Paul, in hopes of being promoted out of Alaska. Meanwhile, two rookie hit men, Gary and Jimbo, discover Paul took 'their' body and kidnap Margaret, demanding the body back. Then, Raymond turns up alive, wanting in on the action... Written by
James Woods turned down the role of Raymond Barnell after assurances could not be made that adequate medical facilities were available in Skagway, Alaska, where portions of the film would be shot. Woods had recently suffered heart problems and was concerned that should further problems arise, he would not have suitable medical care. Woody Harrelson was later cast in the role. See more »
After the insurance investigators are done viewing Ted's video (which exposes the man loading the snowmobile as a fraud), the camera then pans over to Ted at his desk. Before it can pull in to a closer shot the boom mic (and part of the boom itself) is visible at the top of the frame. See more »
Paul Barnell (Robin Williams) is an Alaskan travel agent having financial problems. His brother has been missing for some time and he attempts to cash in the life insurance policy worth $1m. Unfortunately, the insurance agent (Giovanni Ribisi) won't let him cash it in until his brother has been missing for a much longer period or until the body is found. One day whilst putting trash in a dumpster Paul finds a corpse that has been left there by two amateur criminals. He then has the idea of taking the corpse away and using it to pass off as his brother. What unfolds is a complicated plot involving the insurance claims worker desperate to prove that the corpse is not the brother, the two criminals attempt to recover the corpse by kidnapping Paul's mentally ill wife (Holly Hunter) and the return of Paul's lost brother (Woody Harrelson).
This film is hilarious and in my opinion is the funniest film of 2005. The complicated plot allows it to have plenty of comedic moments and well delivered lines by all actors especially Robin Williams.
The plot is very reminiscent to that of Fargo and A Simple Plan. All three films have a storyline involving Money, Death and Snow. Fargo and A Simple Plan have are more serious tone than this film does and allow the cold atmosphere they are set in to make the story more colder than it already is. The comedy in Fargo is much more subtle than this film and does not go as far. The problem this film has is that the quantity of comedy in this film almost squeezes the coldness out of the plot.
This film is definitely worth watching for the high comedy value it has but if you are a fan of Fargo and A Simple Plan looking for a similar dark cold thriller, prepare to be disappointed.
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