Film: “Masterminds”; Director: Jared Hess; Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Ken Marino, Jason Sudeikis, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Devin Ratray, Jon Daly and Candace Blanchard; Rating: **1/2
Though based on a “true story”, “Masterminds” is pure, insipid, popcorn fare that makes the tale seem totally fabricated.
The true story, we are told is, “the largest cash robbery in the history of US crime”, committed by a bunch of dumb, goofy characters who stole $17.3 million from the vault of a cash handling company.
The narrative follows David Ghantt, a seemingly dim-witted and romantically besotted, employee of the Loomis Fargo Company, who recklessly commits the crime to win over his love interest Kelly.
With a lazily crafted, unoriginal script, the script writers, Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey, weave the tale in a convincing manner, seamlessly. The characters, with peculiar behaviour, designed like cartoons, set in the 1970s along with the gags and slapstick humour, all seem hauntingly predictable.
Dressed in outlandish costumes and ridiculous wigs, David commands the centre of attention in the film and Zach Galifianakis slips under his skin with ease. He is outrageous not only with his over-the-top heist, but also in his performance. It is unimaginable how, he could carry out the crime or anyone can fall in love with him.
Kristen Wiig, as the femme fatale, unfortunately has less to do as the story proceeds. Being an extrovert and caring, the script short-changes her during her eventual change of heart.
Kate Mckinnon is intriguing as the dull-witted Jandice, David’s fiancee and Jason Sudeikis as the equally foolish, sociopathic hitman Mike Mckinney, is stereotypical and farfetched.
Not every character in the film is pitched at the same exaggerated level. The rest of the cast which includes; Oven Wilson as Steve and the leader of the criminal gang along with Mary Elizabeth Ellis as his wife and Ken Marino as Steve’s suspicious neighbour, are all flat and shallow characters.
Overall, due to the generic and formulaic turn of events, the actors do not manage to elicit any emotional support from the audience.
Made on a moderate budget, the production quality of the film is of above average standard. Production designer Clayton Hartley along with costume designer Sarah Edwards have managed to recreate the early 1970 era which is captured by Erik Wilson’s lenses to perfection.
Largely, with a few effective laughs, “Masterminds” is a recycled jamboree of comic flicks that feels like wasted resources.
By Troy Ribeiro