The stars are aligned for big laughs.
Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon are the two main women in the tale, and Leslie Jones has a major role as well. If you’re keeping score at home, that means Masterminds employs three-quarters of the cast of the latest Ghostbusters – and the ones that were funnier than left-out Melissa McCarthy – as the hot crook, zany ex and determined arm of the law. Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis work their many chops as the lovelorn rube, sneaky ringleader and soft-hearted hit man.
The story is a natural. But don’t mistake it for Keeping Up with the Joneses, of which the trailer is everywhere for the Oct. 21 release with Galifianakis starring with Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot.
Writers Chris Bowman, Emily Spivey and Hubbel Palmer had a true tale to research before delivering the Masterminds script to director Jared Hess. Yes, the largest heist in American history, this inside job when one guard personally separated Loomis Fargo from $17 million in cash to share with caper mates waiting outside the shop, really, truly happened.
They all play it up for all its worth, these Southern characters full of foibles that …
Well, they almost take it over the top. This pitch down the middle, will it be fouled off instead of crushed over the fence, I wonder as I sit with a handful of folks at the 4:40 p.m. Friday matinée at the Regal Cinemas’ small theater in Syracuse suburban Shoppingtown mall.
Galifianakis just about makes guard David Ghantt too dumb, too love struck, too southern-drawled. Wiig plays trailer-park vixen almost a tad too bawdy, too callous. McKinnon shows up as the loopy-look fiancée With an explanation of how they met that will curdle milk.
Could this just be too much, the way they all spend and plot and carry on? Could crooks be this dumb? Could anybody be so simple?
Saved by a soft side that saves the 94 minutes from running right off the rails. (Although McKinnon’s Jandice never completely calms down much, taking the woman who triumphantly plays Hillary Clinton so well Saturday Night Live in this pivotal time in history even further in her zany path to big screen fame. In an interview in NBC’s Sunday edition of Today, she said she wanted her character to be named Jaundice, but they pulled it back by that one letter. What a mind.)
The real Ghannt was a paid consultant for this movie, we find out as we see the real dude during the credits. They also announce that more than $2 million from the caper was never recovered. The writers leave it up to the viewers to connect the dots …
Who is your favorite from this cast, and why?