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    Review: Despite obnoxious characters and bad jokes, ‘Masterminds’ still finds a way to entertain

    Review: Despite obnoxious characters and bad jokes, Masterminds still finds a way to entertain
    Relativity Media

    We all love a good heist film—the careful planning, the clever execution and the building tension as we find ourselves rooting for characters breaking the law. However, the new heist comedy film, “Masterminds” does not exactly embody these elements.

    The film stars Zach Galifianakis as David Ghantt, a dumber than dumb vault supervisor at Loomis Fargo Bank. After his crush and co-worker, Kelly Campbell, played by Kristen Wiig, gets fired from the bank, she manipulates Ghantt into robbing Loomis Fargo.

    However, the real “mastermind” behind the plot is Steve, portrayed by Owen Wilson, a small-time criminal who wants nothing more than to exploit Ghantt. Of course, Ghantt falls for it. After robbing the bank, he flees down to Mexico, with the promise of a new life. Kelly also agrees to eventually join him down in Mexico, although not right now, because the timing is just not right.

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    Supposedly, true events actually inspired the film. The Loomis Fargo Bank robbery did take place, but it remains to be seen whether the real life bank robbers were actually as dumb as the film portrayals.

    The first half of the film struggles with jokes that miss more often than they land and annoying, stereotypically one sided characters. The film has little character development, so within the first ten seconds of meeting them, you pretty much know everything about them that you will ever find out.

    A crucial struggle with the film lies with its leading man. Galifianakis should not have leading roles in movies. He did fine in, “The Hangover” trilogy when he didn’t have to take on the main role, but his obnoxious accent and strange disguises in this film do not make for pleasant viewing.

    However, the film does have some redeeming qualities. The pace and the suspense pick up in the second half, when Steve hires a hit man, acted by Jason Sudeikis, to take out Ghantt. Sudeikis plays a complete psychopath who doesn’t like to use guns because he “likes the struggle” of his victims.

    Thus begins a series of double crossings from those within the robbery party, with suspense building as you try to figure who will next try to kill whom.

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    Apart from Galifianakis, the film does boast a talented cast that it usually makes use of, which helps the film when the jokes don’t land and the plot points seem unfeasible.

    The movie continues the recent upward trend in “based on a true story” films that seem far too ridiculous to have ever actually happened, forcing audience members to question whether people this dumb really exist.

    Despite more bad jokes than solid ones, the film will elicit laughter at certain points, which any good comedy should aim to do.

    It’s a heist film without most of the elements that characterize the genre. It wants to stay character driven, but the obnoxious characters get old quickly as the plot becomes the film’s most interesting aspect.

    Somehow, the film manages to remain entertaining, despite the fact that it remains difficult to find many good things to say about it. Nothing about it is particularly impressive, but it will still somehow keep viewers entertained. As a result, “Masterminds” seems a lot better than it really is.

    Grade: C+


    Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.


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