A movie’s journey to the big screen can be a long and arduous one. Sometimes, a movie can even be completely finished and then sit on a shelf for years at a time due to financial or creative reasons.
“Masterminds” is one of those movies. This dim-bulb comedy was originally slated for an early 2015 release, but got shelved when its production company Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy.
It has finally reemerged nearly two years later and the sad part is, after all of that, we all would have been better off if it had remained on the shelf.
This is one of those movies that looks great on paper. It’s got a big cast full of people who have been very funny in other places, you bring them all together in a movie that loosely retails the story of one of the largest and unlikeliest bank heists in American history and it should be gold.
It is not.
The plot involves an unassuming armored-car driver named David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis), who is wooed by a former coworker, Kelly (Kristen Wiig), into swiping a van full of cash and then running off to Mexico, while Kelly and her partner-in-crime, Steve (Owen Wilson), slowly funnel the money down to him. At least that is the plan.
Nothing goes as it is supposed to, as everyone involved gets tripped up by their own incompetence and greed.
The biggest problem with “Masterminds” is its tone. It can’t seem to decide if it should be completely absurd, as it is in the funniest part of the movie, an engagement photo scene between David and his fiancée Jandice (Kate McKinnon), or if it should play up the real-life ridiculousness of the situation.
By getting caught in the middle, the movie just spins its wheels and you find yourself feeling sorry for the characters more than you feel like laughing at/with them.
There are some enjoyable moments, as when McKinnon brilliantly hijacks the movie with her weirdo character or when Jason Sudeikis shows up as an unhinged hitman. But these moments are few and far between.
For the most part, “Masterminds” feels like being trapped in one of those painful “Saturday Night Live” sketches that come on after Weekend Update and seemingly never end. The biggest upside here is for a movie it clocks in at a mercifully short 90 minutes.
This movie was definitely not worth the hassle it took to finally get it into theaters and certainly proves delivering a decent movie is actually a lot harder than it looks.
“Masterminds” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, some language, and violence.