David Ghantt discovers the true meaning of adventure far beyond his wildest dreams. He is an uncomplicated man stuck in a monotonous life. Day in and day out he drives an armored vehicle, transporting millions of other people's money with no escape in sight. The only glimmer of excitement is his flirtatious work crush Kelly Campbell who soon lures him into the scheme of a lifetime. Along with a group of half-brained criminals led by Steve Chambers and an absurdly faulted heist plan, David manages the impossible and makes off with $17 million in cash...only problem is he foolishly hands the money over to this wild group of double crossers and has been set up to take the fall. With the bandits blowing the millions on lavish and ridiculous luxuries, they leave behind a glaring trail of evidence. Now on the lam and in over his head, David must dodge the authorities, evade a hilarious hit man, Mike McKinney, and try to turn the tables on the ones he trusted most. Written by
Despite the combined comic talent, Masterminds isn't nearly as funny as it tries to be.
There's an unwritten rule when it comes to bratpack comedies – Don't expect much wit. Masterminds has none and that's not even the biggest downside given the combined comic talent in this film.
With a lineup comprising of Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, it's hard not to recall bratpack comedies like Hall Pass or The Hangover. Those films were not very witty either but they were setup to be outrageously funny and they delivered with laugh-out-loud gags. On the other hand, Masterminds has been in production hell for a long time and was supposed to be released over a year ago. While this doesn't say much about the overall production and budget, it explains why there are as many as six writers for the screenplay. That's never a good sign and it shows – jokes are not only a misfire but the repeated use of toilet humour is a definite indication of lazy writing and poor taste.
It is still interesting to note that this film is based on a real life robbery. Details of the heist are almost identical including actual names of the perpetrators, and set in the 90s, this film could have even worked as a Martin Scorsese crime caper. Instead, Galifianakis is in the lead as real criminal David Ghantt but resembling Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber. And as expected, his character is as bright as a flickering lightbulb. Orchestrated by Steve (Wilson as the titular perp), the plan is to con Ghantt into stealing money from the armored truck company he works for and have him eliminated in Mexico after the job. Dubbed the 'Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery' by the FBI, the real incident turned out to be one of the largest cash hauls in the United States. What happens in the film is a struggle between staying true to the facts and letting Galifianakis loose.
While most of the film barely serves any real laughs (when not being cringe worthy awkward), the only reason to recommend Masterminds would have to be cameos from Sudeikis as a psychotic hit-man and Kate McKinnon as Ghantt's psychotic fiancé. Both are show stealers and with the inclusion of Leslie Jones as a tongue-lashing FBI agent, perhaps the only saving grace in a crime film disguised as a comedy. And speaking of disguise, this film is second to none in imagining what a wanted thief must do to evade airport security. Watch and laugh. Or weep.
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