Film Review – Masterminds (2016)

Title – Masterminds (2016)

Director – Jared Hess (Nacho Libre)

Cast – Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones

Plot – Based on the true story of dim-witted armoured truck driver David Ghantt (Galifianakis) who was convinced to rob his employer of millions of dollars only to find himself on the lamb in Mexico and the culprit of one of the biggest heists ever recorded in the United States.  

“My name is David Ghantt. I always felt I was destined for a life of adventure”

Review by Eddie on 11/04/2017

After his cult hit debut with Napoleon Dynamite in 2004, director Jared Hess has failed to recapture the odd brilliance of that film with uneasy comedies in the form of films like Gentleman Broncos and Nacho Libre and while the long talked about and pushed back Masterminds sounded like a film on paper perfectly suited to the filmmaker, this uneven comedy can’t maximise the cast or story at its disposal to become a film of note.

Based on a bizarre yet true story, Masterminds appears to be tailor made for Hess to unleash some comedy gold, which we get snippets of throughout and when you add to the off-kilter cocktail the likes of a bearded and weirded Zach Galifianakis as our bumbling protagonist David Ghantt, a dumbed down Kristen Wiig, a creepy Owen Wilson and another left of centre turn from the ‘it” girl of comedy at the moment Kate McKinnon, it feels as though Masterminds could’ve been one of 2016’s stand out comedies, in a year in which there wasn’t a lot to challenge for the mantle.

The main problem that Masterminds runs into is within its tone, as Hess struggles to figure out whether the film is a slapstick comedy, an oddball farce or some form of crime caper combined together with an array of bonkers character creations and it feels as though both filmmaker and cast were unable to unlock just what this 90 minute exercise in frustration, mixed with belly laughs was supposed to be.

Another anchor to the films chances of sailing the seas of comedic success is the continued downward spiral of Galifianakis, who ever since breaking out in the first Hangover adventure has become an increasingly disappointing performer.

Not far from being a self-parody at most times, Galifianakis’s ability to lead a film must surely be in question by now (especially after the failings of Keeping up with the Joneses last year also) and despite him getting the odd moment to shine here, it’s really up to the supporting cast to try and gain the films some extra laughs which do come from the likes of Wiig and a small supporting turn from Jason Sudeikis as a dedicated hitman.

A potentially great comedy turned into a merely tolerable one, Masterminds is quite a big letdown upon consideration of its core story and talented cast and it seems as though if Hess can’t turn this story into something, he may forever be known as the “guy” that made Napoleon Dynamite.

2 pairs of braces out of 5

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5 responses to “Film Review – Masterminds (2016)

  1. I did not like this movie. It had a lot of potential (with a lot of very recognizable actors / actresses in it), but they all just flounder in it. Plus, the comedy in the film was dull. Good review!

  2. Pingback: Film Review – Don Verdean (2015) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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