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2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Masterminds
Written by
Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer, Emily Spivey
Directed by
Jared Hess
Starring
Kristen Wiig, Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson
Genre
Comedy
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2016

Masterminds takes gratuitous liberties with the true story of a simpleton armoured-car driver (Zach Galifianakis), who in 1997 was coaxed into stealing $17-million (U.S.) from his former employer by a doofus femme fatale (Kristen Wiig) and her savvy accomplice (Owen Wilson). I'm sure none of this happened as it's depicted, but director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) comes well versed in tales of awkward eccentrics fumbling their way through outlandish situations. Galifianakis grounds the film with a guileless sensitivity and bursts of ingenuity beneath his character's buffoonish nature. Wiig and Wilson struggle at times with the offbeat tone, but the stacked supporting cast pick up the slack. Kate McKinnon shines as Galifianakis's dead-eyed fiancée with all the personality of fresh roadkill, and Jason Sudeikis's pencil-moustached hitman and Leslie Jones's FBI agent steal their scenes. Masterminds often bears the choppy scars of postproduction tinkering, but it remains entertaining for those who like their deadpan with a healthy side of slapstick. (PG) Andrew Parker, Special to The Globe and Mail

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