Dave's Rating:


Un-smooth criminals.

Who's In It: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, Maximillian Schell

The Basics: Con-artist brothers Brody and Ruffalo and their mostly silent accomplice Kikuchi are out to rob wacky heiress Weisz of a few of her millions. But when the wacky heiress decides she wants to be a part of the con game herself and transform her persona into that of a goofy rare-book smuggler, and when Brody falls more and more into puppy-sad-face love with her, and when Ruffalo stops listening to his brother and decides to do as he pleases, and as several other plot tangents stylishly pile up on each other, things get complicated. Who's conning whom? Who's being real? Who's certifiably insane? How do they get away with wearing those hats and ascots everywhere they go? The answers don't really matter but you'll probably enjoy being teased until they're revealed.

What's The Deal: And what I mean when I say "probably" is that you should be prepared for an immersion in Wes Anderson-ish idiosyncrasy and quirk. On the plus side is the feeling that nothing in this movie's universe is based in what you know as reality, so it's not asking you to believe that excessively charming globetrotters like this actually exist in great numbers or that con men are this attractive and adorable. On the other hand, if you have a low tolerance for twee and grown women gallivanting around saying stuff like, "I'm Penelope the Smuggler! I smuggle!" then you might want to steer clear. Like you might even get some on you from watching the trailer alone.

Why It's Hard To Hate: Mostly because of Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi. Weisz acts like she's in one of those '60s international caper movies (which is sort of what this film is trying to be) and wades into the deeper end of the weirdness pool. And as silent performances go, Rinko Kikuchi is as good as Rinko Kikuchi in Babel. And she was the only not-ridiculous thing in Babel.

Why It's Easy To Hate: Because it hedges its bets and doesn't go quite far enough in its pursuit of huggability, asking you to keep one foot in reality from time to time when it feels like laying on some melancholy heartwarmth. And mostly because CuteOverload.com already knows how to do this the right way and it involves a lot of kitties and baby bunnies, none of which appear here. Instead, you get Mark Ruffalo forgetting to shave and soaking himself with fake blood. That's not nearly as fuzzy as a kitty or baby bunny.

Blink And You'll Miss: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who appears in a moving camera shot so briefly you'll wonder if it was really him or not. But it is. He starred in director Rian Johnson's last movie, Brick, the often funny, extra cool, noir crime drama that was set in a high school that was more Raymond Chandler than 90210. See it.


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