You know what I can’t figure out about the film industry? How a movie as awful as Masterminds can get wide release, and a comedy like The Late Bloomer, which opens October 7, will only be released in 10 cities. I was lucky enough to catch The Late Bloomer, and talk to the director (actor/comedian Kevin Pollak) after it screened at the San Diego International Film Festival.
So, you guys can order that movie on Netflix or Video on Demand, or whatever outlets you use, and save your money on Masterminds.
I had missed the press screening, but went to catch it at the Angelika Film Center before heading to the Film Festival. My girlfriend and I, as well as the 10 people in the theatre, all felt we wasted our time.
Masterminds is based on a 1997 story about the Loomis Fargo robbery by an armored truck employee (Zach Galifianakis), which netted him $20 million. Now, with all these dopey southern characters, it’s the type of movie the Coen brothers could’ve made humorous with subtlety. Instead, writer/director Jared Hess (who once gave us the hysterical Napoleon Dynamite) wants us to laugh at unfunny jokes and and slapstick humor.
What is so frustrating is that Galifianakis was one of the best stand-ups around. Kristen Wiig was one of the funniest Saturday Night Live cast members. How in the world did they read this and agree to do it? Was the money really that good? This qualifies them as mastermind criminals. They probably got paid a combined $15 million for this crap, and want you to pay $15 a ticket to see it. They should be arrested.
Oh, and speaking of SNL, they brought in a lot of cast members for smaller parts, including three from the latest Ghostbusters. At least Leslie Jones had a funny line in this (which is one more than she had in Ghostbusters). She sees a photo of Galifianakis and says, “He looks like…Kenny Rogers and Kenny Loggins had a love child. And…Kenny G came in and played some sh** that messed him up.”
That might be the funniest description of somebody I’ve ever heard in a comedy. So it’s a shame that that was one of only four times I laughed watching this “comedy.”
Jason Sudeikis plays a hitman that isn’t the least bit funny, or believable.
Kate McKinnon plays the new bride, who just makes weird faces and farts on Galifianakis when they’re taking wedding photos. Yeah, that’s the level of humor here. Later, we’ll see Galifianakis have diarrhea in a swimming pool in Mexico after drinking the water. I suppose if I were 10-years-old, the sight of people fleeing a pool filled with fecal matter would have me in stitches.
There’s one funny scene with Owen Wilson, as the guy who masterminds this robbery. He doesn’t want his real name used, so he asks to be called Geppetto. The argument over why is a lot of fun, and makes you wish the six screenwriters behind this could’ve come up with more funny zingers.
There are a few sight gags that almost work. A car door made out of wood, or a Geo that has monster truck tires put on it.
If I ever meet director Jared Hess…because I sat for 90 minutes watching this…I’m tempted to slap him and run, the way Napoleon Dynamite slapped his brother.
This gets 1 star out of 5.