Release Date: September 30, 2016
Director: Jared Hess
Writer: Chris Bowman
Cast: Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Leslie Jones, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Ken Marino, Devin Ratray, Jon Daly, Allegra Nova, Rhoda Griffis, Jill Jane Clements, Nicole Michele Sobchack, Daniel Zacapa, Ross Kimball, Matt Corboy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 94 minutes
Production Company: Broadway Video, Michaels-Goldwyn, Relativity Media
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Language: Spanish, English
True stories are always great simply because they’re true. For the most part, no matter how outlandish and random a scene might seem, it’s exciting to sit in a theater amazed at the fact that you know these events actually took place. Now over time studios have changed a few things here and there to make the story flow smoothly for a wider audience, but on the surface it has always appeared to not drift too far away from the material and still make it all believable. So what can you do when the film is based off of a true story, but treated like an unfinished Saturday Night Live skit? Accept it, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
I say sit back and enjoy the ride, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a ride, not a movie even if the opening credits says so. I went into this film doing something I’ve never done before, and that’s going in without seeing any trailers at all. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to approach the film or not, but it did bring forth a ton of laughs. During the setup of the first act, there’s so many jokes you’ll miss the next one, because you’re still laughing at the previous joke. There’s so many situations of things going absolutely the wrong way for the characters that’s so hilarious the whole auditorium is engaged as if you’re all one big family.
After a while you stop laughing completely, and start to get a headache from confusion. You start to ask yourself, “Ok, what the hell am I watching?” The characters in the film are played by a good number of comedians, but they’re not characters. They’re exaggerated caricatures from a coloring book who have been given lines. I don’t want to disrespect the material, but it became entirely too difficult to make out fact from fiction. The caricatures involved repeatedly acted as if they were in a video game and nothing mattered. If the real men and women involved in this robbery were real, it’s not clear why their real personalities couldn’t be adapted. My only guess would be the real events weren’t that interesting to make a film about.
I love satires, spoofs, anything silly and everything goofy, but Masterminds is in a league of its own. If the script was written in thirty minutes or less I wouldn’t be surprised. The only event that is true may be the actual robbery. Everything else is a mixture of stupidity magnified to the highest power. That may be your cup of tea, but when you think about the budget of such a film it’s depressing. Director Jared Hess (Nacho Libre, Napolean Dynamite)is behind this film, which I’m a fan of, but this time he doesn’t seem like the best fit.
Masterminds is a whirlwind of nonsensical bizarre mishaps, bridged together by a bucket of dumb downed characters to the highest degree. That may not be a bad thing, and exactly what you’re looking for. I wasn’t looking for anything and walked out feeling the outtakes were the best part of the film that actually contained real people. Other than that, no one was acting. It’s like everyone was suped-up on silliness, but was trying to make the environment silly too. Imagine living in a world where you feel that water is the source of life, but everyone else thinks it’s bleach. That’s the world of Masterminds, and if going in intoxicated or high off your substance of choice is your thing, that may be the best decision you could make before you waste away ninety-four minutes of your life.