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Review: Masterminds – Perfectly mindless and masterfully funny

MastermindsIn a world that is full of strife, terrorism, vitriolic political campaigns, racial divides, war and refugee crises, we could all use a good laugh; and for my money the brainless stupidity of the new film, Masterminds, fits the bill perfectly.

Directed by Glendale, Arizona native, Jared Hess, of Napoleon Dynamite fame, Masterminds is based on the true story of North Carolina’s 1997 Loomis Fargo bank robbery, one of the largest bank thefts of all time.

At first I thought the “based on the true story” subtitle was a joke in itself, but as you learn at the end of the movie it is a very real thing – though the film’s comedic adaptation of the story has obviously used a lot of artistic license.

Clown Prince Zach Galifianakis is at his goofy best playing armored-car driver David Ghantt, a middle-aged moron with a crazy hairdo, dreaming of adventure and dreading his impending marriage to his fiancé, Jandice (Kate McKinnon), whose real true-love recently died – from a snake bite.

Although he’s engaged, Ghantt is infatuated with his attractive armored-car partner, Kelly (Kristen Wiig), who intentionally gets herself fired so she can collect unemployment. She ends up with her old flame, Steve (Owen Wilson), and they concoct a plan with David to rob Loomis Fargo.

MastermindsWackiness ensues, and as the movie’s sarcastic title insinuates, these people are ridiculously dumb, especially David, who goes along with the scheme in hope of escaping to Mexico with Kelly – who he thinks will follow him there.

Eventually, Steve hires a hitman, his old pal Mike McKinney (Jason Sudeikis), to take out David before Interpol and the FBI (including Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones as a special agent) can locate him.

Whether or not this is a real story or an idiotic adaptation of true events is beside the point, either way this movie is packed with hilarious slapstick-style comedy in the vein of classics like The Jerk, Dumb & Dumber, and Kingpin.

Now is the perfect time for this type of movie, so do yourself a favor, forget the evening news tonight and instead go lose yourself in this perfectly mindless and masterfully funny film. Grade: 7.5/10

Photos © 2014 Armored Car Productions, LLC

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.


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