masterminds 2016 movie review- poster

Have you ever done something silly just to impress a partner? What about something… ILLEGAL? That’s the crux of the idea behind the movie Masterminds. The lead character is based on the real life individual David Ghantt, who was once a vault supervisor at the armor trucking company Loomis, Fargo & Co. and robbed $17 million from them in 1997. The dastardly scheme involved several inexperienced cohorts who assisted Ghantt, essentially using him as their inside man. He then ran off to Mexico with a portion of the money. The whole affair –one of the largest cash robberies in American history – was ridiculous enough to inspire a comedic retelling.

Masterminds 2016 – Synopsis

This comedy is from the director Jared Hess, who brought us the popular underground favorite Napoleon Dynamite and the less successful Nacho Libre. Ghantt is played by the adorably awkward masterminds movie posterZach Galifianakis, portraying him as a goofy and simple guy who hates his job and even his fiancée (played by the hilarious Kate McKinnon). His passion really lies with his co-worker Kelly Campbell, played by Kristen Wiig. Owen Wilson is also in this movie, playing Steve Chambers, who organizes the heist and uses Ghantt’s crush to rope him into the scheme.

After Ghantt takes a portion of the money and runs off to Mexico, the other heist participants hire an equally goofy hitman (played by Jason Sudeikis) to follow after him and take him out. It doesn’t take long for the authorities to figure out who robbed the company, what with security camera footage and extreme shopping sprees giving the FBI some solid clues. The FBI agent is played by comedian Leslie Jones, who recently earned a lot of fame and attention thanks to her role in the all-women Ghostbusters remake.

Action, Comedy & Romance –  Masterminds 2016

Galifianakis is the perfect person to portray the absurd blue collar criminal that Ghantt is. Aside from his shenanigans however, there is an attempt to bring some soft romance to the silly story. But it’s all mixed in with some extreme, ridiculous characters who are portrayed effectively by the SNL-like cast. However, thanks to the softer approach, you do end up feeling less contempt for the fools than you usually do in a bumbling comedy. There’s something endearing about the characters, a feeling that’s reminiscent of the endearing, inept characters in Napoleon Dynamite.

In the end, the comedy is lightweight. You’re more likely to laugh lightly at many of the scenes, as opposed to booming with laughter. A sense of amusement fills the movie from beginning to end. If you’re already amused by Zach Galifianakis in general, you’re bound to enjoy his performance in this movie as well. He does weird well. And the laughter will be consistent, even if it’s only chuckles and not uproarious knee-slapping.

The actors are all talented comedians and Hess gave them enough leeway to do what they do best. This means a lot of weird comedy was allowed, which is great if that’s exactly what you want out of this film. The cast is the strongest thing working for Masterminds. The plot might be silly, but the consistently funny actors means that the movie will get more than one little laugh out of you.

Comedy Stress Re-leaver

If you’re looking for a light comedy that will cheer you up and provide you with some consistent performances from known and respected comedians, then Masterminds 2016 is worth watching. Since it’s not an absolutely killer comedy, it may not be worth seeing in movie theatres. However, it’s perfect if you want to get comfy on your couch and look through some free streaming movies online. Lift up your spirits after a long day of work with some of Galifianakis’s quirky antics.


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