You know a Michael Bay movie when you see it. You can usually figure it out after the tenth explosion within the first half hour. You know a Tim Burton film when you see it. It’s dark, creepy and weird. And after watching Masterminds, you’ll be fully familiar with the films of director Jared Hess.
Jared Hess is the man who wrote and directed Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. His films are stuffed full of social awkwardness and dry weirdness. Here, he brings a quirky take on the true story of the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery in North Carolina. The movie has an all-star comedic cast at its disposal. Zach Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, the armored truck driver who steals $17 million. Coaxed by his former co-worker (Kristen Wiig) and her thief friend (Owen Wilson), Ghantt leaves his bizarre fiancé (Kate McKinnon) and flees to Mexico while a hitman (Jason Sudeikis) and an FBI Agent (Leslie Jones) are hot on his trail.
It’s hard to call Masterminds a good movie because it barely makes any sense. But someone can make the same claims on all of Hess’ films. At times the movie is overwhelmingly discomfited. But it is a comedy. And the most important aspect of a comedy is to make the audience laugh. If you are in the group that thinks Hess’ other movies are hilarious, then you’ll enjoy Masterminds. But if you found those movies dumb and weird… well… guess what you’ll think of this one?
Personally, I own two of Hess’ films, so you can imagine which end of the spectrum I fall closer toward. While watching this movie, there were several times when I outwardly said “This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.” But, some of those times I did so while holding back laughter. A few moments, like Sudeikis’ hitman using an old Mexican rifle to try and kill Ghantt, actually had me in tears. So while Masterminds is dumb and unrealistically goofy, it undoubtedly has an audience that will enjoy it.
FINAL GRADE: C