5.8/10
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Life of Crime (2013)

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Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return.

Director:

Daniel Schechter

Writers:

Daniel Schechter (written for the screen by), Elmore Leonard (based on the book "The Switch" written by)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Aniston ... Mickey Dawson
Yasiin Bey ... Ordell Robbie
Isla Fisher ... Melanie
Will Forte ... Marshall Taylor
Mark Boone Junior ... Richard Monk
Tim Robbins ... Frank Dawson
John Hawkes ... Louis Gara
Clea Lewis ... Tyra Taylor
Charlie Tahan ... Bo Dawson
Kevin Corrigan ... Ray
Leonard Robinson ... Officer Dixon
Kevin Porter Young ... Officer Kenny
Alex Ladove ... Pamela Taylor
Jenna Nye ... Shelly Taylor
Jill Abramovitz Jill Abramovitz ... Jan
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Storyline

Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Right target. Wrong woman.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 2014 (Bahamas) See more »

Also Known As:

The Switch See more »

Filming Locations:

Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$131,422, 29 August 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$261,695, 19 September 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second time Isla Fisher plays a mistress to a rich man, following The Great Gatsby (2013). See more »

Goofs

Richard states that the Garand, Army, World War II, is German standard issue. That is wrong, the Garand was standard issue for the US Army. The next weapon he brings up is the M1 Carbine is standard issue for the US Army. This is incorrect, the M1 Carbine was a smaller more compact weapon that was issued to specialist troops, e.g. armor crewmen, and though it became popular was not standard issue for the US Army. See more »

Quotes

Mickey Dawson: [talking about Melanie] She looks like a million bucks.
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Connections

References Goodfellas (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Dreadlock Holiday
Written by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart
Performed by 10CC
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
As an evenly paced crime dramedy, Life of Crime simmers with wit, style and an ensemble star cast.
2 September 2014 | by LloydBayerSee all my reviews

Life of Crime is an aptly titled crime dramedy based on The Switch, a novel by the late Elmore Leonard whose comically dark prose has inspired other noir films like Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight. It's a slow burning pot boiler but one that simmers with sure-fisted wit, eclectic style and filled with the type of tension that stretches but never snaps.

Written for the screen and directed by Daniel Schechter, this black comedy begins with two petty criminals plotting to kidnap Mickey Dawson (Jennifer Aniston), the trophy wife of Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins) a corrupt businessman who has amassed a fortune by evading tax authorities. Having done their homework on Frank and how much money is stashed away in a tax-free Bahamas bank, Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Mos Def) are the aforementioned crooks who think they have hatched the perfect plan – hold the wife ransom in exchange for the husband's ill-gotten wealth. But unknown to these misdemeanors, Frank has no intention of getting his wife back. Worst of all, Frank's got a hot little mistress (Isla Fisher as Melanie) who has a plan of her own but one that could elevate her status from a gold digger to the new Mrs. Dawson.

Set in the late 1970s Detroit, Life of Crime is potentially familiar in swagger to last year's multi-Oscar nominated American Hustle. Even so, I suspect Schechter has intended for a deeper narration – try homage to the Coen Brothers' acclaimed masterpiece, Fargo. But where those films excelled in authentic storytelling prowess, Life of Crime is a low budget film that seems to be content with a medley of delicious dialogue from improvised characters. From Melanie and Frank to fumbling crooks with terrific lines, spunky characterization works like the unwrapping of a multilayered gift where you get to see what's on the inside at the very end. Mickey is no exception either, going from a beaten-down and delusional housewife to a survivalist with vivacious insight. This is also where Aniston strides further than any of her previous roles and is definitely one of her best performances to date. Also thrown in for kicks are two of Leonard's oddball characters – a neo-Nazi gun nut played by Mark Boone Junior and Will Forte as a weirdo who has the hots for Mickey – both ambiguous characters whose inclusion adds humour but also detracts from the main plot.

For a small scale crime thriller and Schechter's third foray as a director, Life of Crime may not be a very good screen adaptation but where it struggles in its dwindling screenplay, it makes up with an ensemble cast that turns out to be the film's saving grace. Perhaps Tarantino would have done a better job, especially with a montage ending that seems to suggest that the story has only just begun. Then again, that film would have been and entirely different cat and mouse game.


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