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November 3, 2011

By John Leavengood

MY CALL:  This is a Clue mach-up with a  bank robbery-gone-wrong.  But what really  went wrong was the movie.  [C-]  Take my opinion with more grains of salt than normal, though.  Amazon reviewers really seemed to like this movie.  I guess it just wasn’t my flavor of “dumb.”  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  The Ocean’s  11-13, Confidence, Duplicity, Trapped in Paradise.

This  movie really missed the mark.  I mean, I  was entertained.  But I’m not going to  advise anyone see this unless they’re a die-hard Patrick Dempsey fan.  Even playing someone with  OCD, Dempsey  manages to get a bit too melodramatic.  It pains me to say that because any other day I’d say he’s a good actor.  I’ve been a Dempsey fan for twenty  years.  The movie’s sort of funny.  However I may not have laughed out loud once  more than once.  More the occasional  appreciative smile of one of the rare funny moments or one-liners.  This may have been the ONLY  movie EVER where  Jeffrey Tambor was neither likeable nor funny, and he’s REALLY funny.  Yet somehow, not in this.

Patrick  Dempsey (who plays Trip) leads a big cast with a ton of recognizable actors.  Even if all of them aren’t millionaires, most  of them have done some great work.  My  how far they’ve fallen since Oh Brother  Where Art Thou, The Help and Identity.  Anyway, Trip is a quirky, methodical, Sherlock Holmes-y, hypercognitive who  finds himself at a bank when two different sets of bank robbers arrive…to rob  the same bank…at the same time.  One team  is a pair of smash-and-grab job idiots.  The other is a technically sound team of professional thieves.  Naturally, there’s disagreement between the  two gangs, but luckily Trip decides to risk his life and play mediator.  At times, Trip is a little more up-tight Rain Man and a little less Holmes.  He’s solving something and is cluelessly shocked when interrupted.  Scenes like that are a bit  annoying, as  Dempsey lacks Hoffman’s savant-y finesse.

These bank robbers had arrived at the end of the business day to take the vault over night and take the customers hostage.  So there is plenty of time for things to go wrong. With a dawning mystery of how two groups of bank robbers ended up at the bank at the same time, the movie turns into a Clue-style mystery.  Some meant-to-be-outrageous things happen that really “should” have been funny.  Trip spends the evening making random advances at a semi-cute teller.  That “should” have been funny.  I might have  cracked a smile.  But this was not worth  my time.  I really didn’t even enjoy  disliking this movie.

The best lines and humor came from the B-list actors.  Take that as a warning sign, like when a spooked skunk lifts its tail, and slowly back away from this one.

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