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Film Review: Some hillbillies strike it rich in “Masterminds”

Grade: B-

Many of us might believe that a $17.3 million payday would be one of the most wonderful things that could possibly happen to us. Receiving that money thanks to good intentions would be a bonus, too.

Well, unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way.

Like David Scott Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis), most simply go to work, day after day, do the respective job with the best skill they can provide, and expect to earn approximately the same paycheck week after week. Lucky for Ghantt, his job as an armored truck driver for Loomis Fargo made stealing that hefty amount of cash much easier and the heist eventually became the second-largest cash robbery on U.S. soil.

“Masterminds” has a plethora of big-ticket actors, including stars Owen Wilson (Steve Chambers) and Kristen Wiig (Kelly Campbell), whose characters assist in the heist. Jason Sudeikis plays hitman Mike McKinney, who is hired to kill Ghantt, while Leslie Jones plays a fierce FBI agent on the hunt for the participants in the heist.

The chemistry among the ensemble is remarkable, though sometimes there are moments of awkwardness, like with Ghantt’s fiancé Jandice (Kate McKinnon), as well as moments of confusion, like the brotherly love between Ghantt and McKinney during an intense manhunt in Mexico.

Galifianakis definitely brings his own twist to Scott, though his humor is best understood on his own program “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” where he interviews celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Barack Obama and most recently, Hillary Clinton. In these videos, Galifianakis exhibits his tongue-in-cheek style humor, which his character uses in tight situations in “Masterminds.”

Though this flick will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, unfortunately for the viewer, it’s primarily because it’s uncomfortably quirky. The relationship between Ghantt and Campbell is confusing, to say the least. Though his infatuation with her does keep the plot moving, the fact that the whole of the plot evolves around Ghantt’s love for Campbell, is, frankly, somewhat upsetting.

Where “Masterminds” can be appreciated is in its humor and hillbilly-type action, which is similar to the elements seen in Jim Carrey’s and Jeff Daniels’ “Dumb and Dumber” movies. To further exemplify this movie purely for its plot, it is essentially a hillbilly version of F. Gary Gray’s remake of “The Italian Job” — minus the fact that Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron’s characters were never caught, unlike Ghantt and his gang of criminals. The good thing is that the action was very comedic, despite the movie being flawed in plot structure and characterization. In any case, when it comes to a comedy film, getting a good laugh is nearly always the most important objective.

“Masterminds” will never be a comedy that will be remembered for years to come, but at least we can enjoy Galifianakis’s command of the screen while it is in theaters.

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