A true mastermind would have sent this one straight to video

A true mastermind would have sent this one straight to video

Unlike a nice wine that can only grow more lush over time, a movie that sits on the shelf for a few years cannot boast the same. This dud from SNL producer Lorne Michaels has inexplicably lingered in distribution limbo for years after missing several release dates. Time has not been kind to this comedy, based on a real armored car company theft in 1997 that happened in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Though Charlotte is spared that recognition in “Masterminds,” the southern accents are not and Zach Galifianakis, in a page boy with bangs and a full beard, does his best, “How are ewe?”accent with limited success. And that goes for the whole movie.

Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, a hapless armored car driver who falls under the spell of his co-worker, Katie (Kristen Wiig). Not possessed of a particularly strong work ethic, she lasts about three weeks on the job, but her childhood friend Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson) convinces her to use her wiles to get Ghantt to rob the temporary safe where the day’s cash pickups are stored.

It works, and per the plan, Ghantt flees to Mexico where Katie has promised to meet him, only she has no intention keeping the promise. Meanwhile Steve, who is spending money like, well, he just robbed a bank, decides Ghantt is a liability and hires a hit man (Jason Sudeikis) to track him down in Cozumel and permanently wrap up this large, mouthy loose end.

To a small degree, this is pretty funny. There is the usual uncomfortable humor mostly provided by David’s psycho fiancée played by recent Emmy winner Kate McKinnon. Another SNL player, Leslie Jones, joins in as the FBI agent working the robbery, which totaled $17 million.

Galifianakis is not really an over-the-title kind of actor, so it’s a stretch to ask him to carry an entire movie, although he has some super co-stars to help him. Still, it feels like no one is catching their stride in this and it results in a vague air of awkwardness that permeates the movie.

The obvious joke is found in the title, for these folks don’t have a whole brain between them. It’s unbelievable they weren’t caught mere minutes after the robbery, but eventually they were and most are presently serving some long stints in prison. But indirectly, the other obvious reference belongs to the geniuses who thought this would be a great comedy and decided to cast it as such. I guess not-so-great “Masterminds” think alike.

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