Even with a star-studded playbill, ‘Masterminds’ leans too solely on the realm of ridiculousness.
Director Jared Hess (known for the likes of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre) has delivered, yet again, another biting realization that there’s a darker, stranger world right outside our front doors. In Masterminds, reality’s weird eccentricities result in a sincere attempt at believable comedy. However, there’s only one problem with Hess’ formula to success: Where’s the comedy?
This messy heist tells the tale of David Ghantt (Zach Galiafinakis), an armored truck driver who awaits a call to adventure in his small Southern town. This dream, however, becomes a sudden reality when seductive co-worker Kelly Campbell (Kristen Wiig) lures David into robbing his own company for $17 million. Under the manipulative efforts of Kelly’s childhood friend, Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson), David must learn to exploit his “dangerous” side for a new life of independency.
Despite the foundation of a true story (yes, this all actually happened), Masterminds flows too far off the charts to see any sense of the truth. Like a sitcom without a laugh-track, the audience is dragged through painfully awkward bits that make you even question their worth. Nonetheless, what should one expect? With a director that has built his repertoire on living in the strange, it only makes sense that the thrill of a heist would only egg on more outlandish quirks. Furthermore, from Galifianakis to Wilson to even SNL veterans Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, many of the A-list comedians in this film have built an empire on unconventionality.
“Masterminds, though not as funny as I thought it would be, kept my interest for the most part,” said Julia Zang, both a Garfield native and long-time fan of slapstick comedy. “I was shocked to find out that it was all based on a true story. Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for the actors and actresses starring in this movie, I wouldn’t really think of it to be anything special.”
Overall, Masterminds leaves you on the edge of your seat, whether it’s through the suspense of authenticity or the anger of undermining humor. It’s a unique combination from an even more unique filmmaker, carrying the enormous weight of an acquired taste.
Hence, if you plan on making that trip to the movie theater somewhere down the road, do yourself a favor: come hungry for something new.
Masterminds is now playing in movie theaters worldwide. Some local venues include AMC Clifton Commons, AMC Essex Greens in West Orange and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas in the heart of Upper Montclair! For a list of even more theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com today.