A night guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history.
Dumb criminals and their bad ’90s taste are the objects of affectionate ridicule in Masterminds, director Jared Hess’ predictably cartoonish spin on a true story. The real-life farce known as the “hillbilly heist,” one of the largest and most improbable cash hauls in American crime history, unfolds as a scattershot collection of caricatures and gags.
The emphasis on skit-style moments may be miscalculated, but it’s no surprise given the SNL pedigree of a number of castmembers and Lorne Michaels’ involvement as producer. Leads Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis bolster the hit-and-miss story with soulful goofiness. There’s only so much they can do, though, as the movie jumps from one bit to the next, its connective tissue disappointingly thin.
While those bits do yield some hilarity, the feature’s laugh quotient is modest considering how many comic heavy-hitters are onscreen. But the long-gestating film steps into a void of high-profile comedies and could hustle up some box-office bucks for a post-bankruptcy Relativity, which has rescheduled its release several times.