REVIEW — “Masterminds”
Masterminds is a comedy about one of the largest bank heists on American soil, with an excellent cast directed by Jared Hess with Lorne Michaels taking on the roles of executive producer and apparently casting director by bringing in his gang from Saturday Night Live. In 1997, the Loomis Fargo armored car company was robbed of approximately $17.3 million dollars in Charlotte, NC (hey, that’s where I live!). David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) is suckered into taking every dollar from the vault of the company he works for by his love interest Kelly (Kristen Wiig) and her manipulative friend Steve (Owen Wilson, originally cast for Jim Carrey).
The movie has great humor but is plagued with obvious creative character freedoms taken by each actor. I felt that the story was “based on a true story,” but the writers found a fun way to tell it and made their own version that was much more over the top than real life. That’s not a bad thing by any means, that this was funnier than what actually happened, because the real life story wouldn’t have made for an entertaining movie, and this works better in its place. The problem is that this seemed a little too forced for comedy when I felt 75% of the lines were made up, and even more of the events were.
There were some great laugh-out-loud moments, squirming from disgusting events, and genuine intrigue over how the story would, but this wasn’t the Galifianakis comedy we’ve all hoped for since seeing The Hangover for the first time. I’m not sure we’ll ever feel that way again, but the hope and thoughts surrounding his ever famous role as the lovable Alan will always remain. Having three out of four Ghostbusters (2016) present in this film (sans Melissa McCarthy) was fun, but we all know that was due to Lorne Michaels of SNL having something of a say in much of the cast. Wiig did another fine job in this, but the real laughs come from Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, just as they did in this year’s Ghostbusters reboot. Considering this was delayed for 13 months after financial issues surrounding Relativity Media, who eventually filed for Chapter 11, it was a surprise this was even released.
Director Jared Hess, the writer and director of Napoleon Dynamite, doesn’t have another explosive hit on his hands with this one. This was funny, very watchable, and has a decent storyline surrounding this historic robbery, but will I ever pick it up and watch it again? Probably not. I was entertained but not to the point of telling everyone I know how great it was; unlike work this cast has done in the past. Make sure you stay through the gag reels which always end up bumping the ratings of “decent” movies another half-point, as it did here. 2.5/5.