‘Tis the season for mediocre ensemble comedies, and well, I think our first shabbily wrapped gift has been forced under the tree.
I always wondered if director Jared Hess would figure out how to write a story. You know his story: small-time director who made it huge with the insanely popular Napoleon Dynamite – less a movie, more a compilation of vignettes glued together with lard and charisma. What’s followed has been a career built, sometimes successfully, on a winning character wandering, sans narrative, through a series of loosely connected, sometimes funny scenes. I’ll be honest, I’ve lost track of Hess, and so when his name popped up in front of Masterminds on Wednesday night, I was curious: had Jared Hess finally added some story? The previews for the film seemed to imply so – based on a true story and filled with characters who might have growth and development – but they also implied that this is a film about a butchered armored truck heist and the morons who, hilariously do it. It’s not though, it’s twenty minutes of bank heist preparation, five minutes of, really, a pretty lame bank heist, and then almost an hour of random stuff happening to its sometimes entertaining characters. Zach Galifianakis plays David Ghant, a small-town nice guy who’s pulled into the armored car heist by his crush, Kelly Campbell (Kristen Wiig). A lot of the film is spent in Mexico. There’s an assassin, played by Jason Sudekis, who shares Ghant’s on-the-lam fake name. There’s a lot of almost tasteless jokes aimed at being poor and dumb. There is, yet another fantastic performance by Kate McKinnon as the granite-faced future wife of David Ghant. What there isn’t? Much of a plot. There’s an attempt, like Hess took a remedial narrative class and then wrote this script in crayon on the back of recycled paper, but as soon as the attempt at plots been exhausted, it’s just same old Hess, gluing funny shit together and hoping no one will notice it’s not a movie.
One Last Thought:
Is their a shared universe where all of Zach Galifianakis high-pitched, dullard Southerners live?