mastermindsI really wish I could say this is a funny movie, but I’m afraid I just can’t. The cast is comprised of some seriously talented people but I’m afraid even they can save this one.

Based on the Loomis Fargo robbery of 1997 (one of the largest in US history), the story focuses on the players that put the robbery together and how it all fell apart. If you read what originally happened you’ll see that there’s some material there ripe for comedic treatment, it’s just that they left too much of the comedy out of it. Unfortunately, they try to play this one straight, relying on gimmicking characters instead of strong material.

Zach Galifianakis plays the security guard who executes the robbery only to find himself betrayed by his partners. His David Ghantt role is one of the linchpins they support the film with but after a short time you just find him and his bad mullet annoying. I felt some sympathy but not much as he just got under my skin more than anything else. Big character wise we also have Kate McKinnon playing Ghantt’s wife and Jason Sudeikis as a hit man hired to kill him. Both are funny in their roles but McKinnon isn’t on screen enough and Sudeikis is never fully let off the leash with his hitman as it would’ve been great to see him build up to something completely crazy; it just never gets there though.

Then you have the wildly un-utilized Kristen Wiig who shouldn’t play big against Kate McKinnon as that just would’ve been too much. However, whenever you see Wiig on screen you’re always just kind of waiting for her to do, well, something, something unexpected usually. She’s playing this one straight so you never get the payoff you’re looking for. The cast is rounded out with Owen Wilson, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Leslie Jones and Ken Marino.

The directing and writing isn’t great, they had a lot of opportunities to make this really funny but unfortunately Masterminds never fully embraces the funny as it should.

reviewed by Sean McKnight