Zach Galifianakis has had an explosive career since “The Hangover.” After the first film in the trilogy was released, Galifianakis started popping up in numerous movies. After taking a break from film and starring in a television series on FX, Galifianakis is back in a comedy film that has been delayed for over a year and is finally hitting theaters.
“Masterminds” stars Galifianakis as well as Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Kate McKinnon. The film is based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery where $17.3 million was stolen by vault supervisor David Scott Ghant and his various other conspirators.
Director Jared Hess is best know for “Napoleon Dynamite,” a film that has gained a cult following in the years following. Given the director’s ease with tackling strange and peculiar characters, Hess seems like a natural choice to play with the silliness of this true story. And while “Masterminds” is ultimately decent fun, the film ends up feeling like a clustered mess.
The plot of the film is intriguing at face value. The outrageousness of it all makes for a potentially complying comedy film. Galifianakis’ character is infatuated with his coworker (Wiig) and is convinced by her and her friends to steal money from the bank he works at. He agrees and ends up succeeding in robbing the money. Thinking he will run off to Mexico with his co-worker, he flees the country and waits for her. But he quickly learns that he’s been double-crossed by his team and the insanity begins.
Around the time that Galifianakis’ character goes to Mexico is where the film stops being a comedy about true events and becomes a mishmash of ideas and concepts that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. The film’s irrationality is truly felt when Jason Sudeikis pops into the picture. While his character is entertaining, he doesn’t gel with the story and tone at all.
Whether Galifianakis’ character is fleeing the country using the disguise of a long wig and cat contacts or Kate McKinnon getting vaginal cream squirted all over her face, the film’s absurdity reaches a breaking point by the end. It almost feels like the director couldn’t find enough humor with the story at hand, and so the story grew weirder and more outrageous.
Speaking of McKinnon, she is a complete delight in the film. While she does not have much screen time, McKinnon steals every scene she’s in with her eccentrically magnetic presence. Kate’s character is hilariously oddball and deadpan. One of the film’s funniest moments is when her character and Wiig’s get involved in a physical altercation at a mall. It is classic physical comedy at play, and it works.
The rest of the cast does their best with the silly comedy. Wiig is reliable and Galifianakis is goofy as always. Even Wilson gets a chance to shine. It just feels like the cast should have been given stronger material to work with. Make no mistake, the film is a moderately funny time at the theater, but the potential for a better and more concise film was there.
Overall, while the ridiculousness of “Masterminds” becomes too much and the film forgets its roots, it has an oddity appeal to it and somewhat entertains thanks to the cast.