Masterminds – 3 out of 5
Jared Hess is a pretty interesting director/writer. His first work I experienced from him was Napoleon Dynamite and I was blown away with not just how funny that odd-ball comedy was but from the unique, slightly off reality he made with it. Since then, I’ve enjoyed Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos would go on to be one of my all-time favorite films. Not that long ago I watched Don Verdean and walked away a little disappointed by it but still found some redeeming factors to it. Recently, I sat down with his latest; Masterminds.
|Hey look, it's one of those ladies who somehow ruined a bunch of people's|
fragile childhoods by being in a new Ghostbusters movie.
Based on a true story, this film takes us back to the magical time of 1997 and the infamous Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery. The event inspires a man named Steve (Owen Wilson) and former armor car employee Kelly (Kristen Wiig) to pull off the same stunt. They decide to use Kelly’s former co-worker; David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) as a pawn and the man to do all the dirty work. After successfully taking nearly 18 million dollars, the team sends Ghantt to Mexico but two FBI agents (played by Leslie Jones and Jon Daly) are hot on his trail. After Steve thinks Ghantt blows his cover, he sends a hitman (Jason Sudeikis) to go and take care of him but it won’t be long before their entire plan crumbles down around them.
|They say money doesn't buy happiness but I sure would like to |
test that theory.
This film is just exploding with talent. It’s actually quite the sight just to see everyone they cram into this one. There are already the main stars of Galifianakis, Wiig and Wilson but alongside them is the likes of the supporting cast and you get stars like Ken Marino and Kate McKinnon. That is why I found it to be a little disappointing that the movie wasn’t as good as the cast had me hoping it was going to be. Now, I’m going to clarify that I didn’t find this film bad but there were some definite drawbacks I found that really hurt the film.
|Kate McKinnon is a damn treasure in the world of comedy.|
She floors me!
|I realize the hair style is a gag but it actually|
works for Galifianakis.
Jared Hess is a very unique director who has this knack for crafting worlds that clearly are our own but feel just odd enough that they exist in their own plane of reality. He often plays around with costumes, sets and locales so that it’s difficult (or nearly impossible) to figure out what time period his films are meant to take place in. This element gives his film’s a certain timeless appeal and makes them feel far more unique than your run-of-the-mill comedies. Masterminds has some of these oddities on display but it’s slightly hampered in the early moments of the film with its wacky humor. I’m not against the silliness this film presents but, in the first act of the film, these moments feel very forced and I really wasn’t finding them that funny. However, this wasn’t a complaint for long.
|FBI? They're with the Federal Body Inspectors?|
*This joke brought to you by perverted joke T-shirts only creepy
|Sudeikis is just dynamite in this one.|
There came a point in the film where everything just felt like it locked into place and I discovered I was laughing more and engaging more with the story. To me, it felt like once Jason Sudeikis’ character was introduced the film really hit its stride and knew how to effectively work its over-the-top wackiness. A part of me wonders if it’s because Jared Hess didn’t write this film is why I found the first half to be a little cheesy and hard to find amusing but, regardless, once this movie seemed to find its footing I was very much into it and had a good time.
|Without a doubt...|
|...this was my favorite part of the film!|
Sadly, Masterminds didn’t meet the expectations I had when I sat down with it. The amazing amount of talent that it contained might have ended up setting the bar high for me. However, the film isn’t without its entertainment value and merit. The performances are great and it shines thanks to Jared Hess’ usual tilted look at life. Granted, I think this film might have been a little too grounded for the likes of Hess and that his style is best used for the really quirky tales but his unique eye and tone that he brings did deliver the right amount of emphasis to the comedy and story. The movie didn’t start the strongest for me but once it found its stride, it ended very well and I found myself definitely enjoying myself.