Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Movie Review: "Masterminds"

Photo from Relativity Media.

Masterminds is a comedic retelling of a true story about a 1997 bank heist. The movie shares the same humor as films like Dumb and Dumber and Anchorman. In fact, the director, Jared Hess, directed Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre; Masterminds is in the same vein as Hess’s previous work.

The film is about David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis), a simple minded, armored car driver who transports money to and from banks. In order to impress his former co-worker and love interest, Kelly Campbell (Kristen Wiig), he is manipulated into stealing millions of dollars from his work’s vault. The movie comedically covers the events that transpired after the robbery. 

As he flees Mexico, Ghantt dresses in over done disguises, using crazy wigs and contacts. He escapes the police on multiple occasions, using his naivety. One of the masterminds of the heist, Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson), sees Ghantt as a liability, so Chambers sends a hitman (Jason Sudeikis) after him. Ghantt is endearing because of how oblivious he is to his near death experiences and how casually he accepts robbing a vault for love. The majority of the movie is spent watching Ghantt fawning over Campbell and wondering if Campbell will ever reciprocate his love.

A majority of the characters in the film are not very dynamic. Wiig’s character is the only one that develops significantly over the course of the film. This movie is not for those who want characters to mature. The hilarity comes from their inability to grow as people.

Each of the playes involved in the theft do not understand the implications of their actions. Steve Chambers plans the robbery and freely spends his money without thinking about how suspicious it looks. Campbell uses Ghantt to steal the cash by acting like she wants a relationship with him, even though she knows she is being manipulative. If the characters in the film were smart and empathetic most of the jokes would be lost. 

The movie basks in it’s own stupidity. Galifianakis does a great job delivering absurd, nonsensical one-liners like “I feel like a corndog at a hotdog party.” The humour is random but very much organic. 

When the movie said it was based on a true story it was hard to believe because of the ridiculousness of the situation. The film is enjoyable for a good laugh, serving its purpose without much plot. This is a good movie to rent or see with a large group of people. 

Grade: B

Masterminds is playing Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14, AMC Loews Georgetown 14 and AMC Courthouse Plaza 8. 

thescene@theeagleonline.com


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