Review | Film review: Masterminds – Zach Galifianakis plays dumb in caper comedy
Comedy based on the true story of a daring 1997 armoured car heist in the US features a long list of comedic stars, but only recent Ghostbusters star Kate McKinnon consistently entertains
The latest offering from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess tells the true story of a record-breaking armoured car robbery: US$17 million in cash was stolen by the company’s own employees in 1997, sparking a nationwide manhunt and media frenzy.
Zach Galifianakis stars as David Ghantt, the naive armoured car driver seduced all-too-easily by Wiig’s former colleague into robbing his workplace for a local small-time criminal (Owen Wilson). Sporting a glossy mullet and ridiculous wardrobe, Ghantt’s oblivious man-child is a gift for Galifianakis’ discomforting charms, especially after he is duped into laying low in Mexico, while his co-conspirators enjoy the loot.
Only Kate McKinnon, whose Hillary Clinton impersonation has been a highlight on US show Saturday Night Live this election season, truly impresses as Ghantt’s eccentric spurned fiancée. Conjuring an unsettling blend of buttoned-up Christian and sexual predator, it is a performance desperately craving better material.
While failing to squeeze more than obvious laughs from its classic noir set-up, Hess does at least know when to step back and let his actors run amok. Galifianakis and McKinnon are genuinely entertaining, especially together, but when taken as a whole, Masterminds squanders its potential all too frivolously.
Masterminds opens on November 24
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