Movie review of “Masterminds”: Zach Galifianakis is back to playing a man-child very much in the mold of his “Hangover” character, which is to say someone who is a quarter of the way to being a half-wit. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
Zach Galifianakis, Hollywood’s go-to goofus of the moment, is back at it in “Masterminds.” Back to playing a man-child very much in the mold of his “Hangover” character, which is to say someone who is a quarter of the way to being a half-wit.
The character, David Ghantt, is the movie’s interpretation of a real-live guy who in 1997 robbed $17 million in cash from the armored-car company he worked for in Charlotte, N.C. The way Galifianakis plays him you can barely imagine him being able to tie his own shoes, let alone pull off a heist.
With his Dutch-boy haircut and peculiar accent — Southern, I guess — Ghantt blunders through the story. The tone is set early when he accidentally shoots himself in the butt at a firing range. Funny. Later he’ll eat a tarantula — Eewww! Gross! But funny! And poop in a swimming pool — Eewww! Just gross.
Movie Review ★½
‘Masterminds,’ with Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Mary Elizabeth Ellis. Directed by Jared Hess, from a screenplay by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey. 95 minutes. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, some language and violence. Several theaters.
But at least Galifianakis throws himself full-bore into the proceedings, which is more than can be said of his co-stars. As the co-worker at the armored-car company who sweet-talks him into the robbery, Kristen Wiig seems game but barely engaged with her part. And in the role of her co-conspirator who actually orchestrates the robbery, Owen Wilson is just going through the motions. Whenever he’s on screen, the picture downshifts into neutral.
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Director Jared Hess, best known for “Napoleon Dynamite,” wants to depict these people as low-rent (their habitats are mobile homes) oddballs along the lines of his “Napoleon” characters, but there’s none of the good-natured whimsy that characterized that picture in “Masterminds.” There are some genuinely funny bits but, alas, far too few.