Well, I said from the beginning that Soderbergh’s much blogged about retirement was a shell game and, sure enough, here he is again, coming back with a movie that is, perhaps in a nod to the scam he pulled with his “retirement,” a scam itself. In this film, a pair of fairly dimwitted brothers decide to pull off a major heist by robbing a stadium during a NASCAR race. The film is endearingly shaggy, but ultimately a little too loosely held together. The cast is quite good. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are both very good as the lead characters. And I’ll admit that I was pretty skeptical about Daniel Craig walking in; casting the urbane British actor as a red-necked, bleached blonde hillbilly seemed like stunt casting. But damned if he isn’t actually the best thing about the movie; he disappears completely into his role and every second he’s on screen is a pure joy. Riley Keogh, an actress I’ve seen here and there but never been particularly impressed by, is a force of nature as the sexy, smart-mouthed sister of the two leads. Rounding out the impressive performances are Brian Gleeson & Jack Quaid as the lay about brothers of the Daniel Craig character; even the dimwitted main characters know that those two are dimwitted and that tells you something. The central sequence of the film, which covers a jailbreak & the heist itself, is a lot of fun and has some big laughs; the “bomb” Daniel Craig assembles had me on the floor laughing. But there are a lot of weaknesses too. Sometimes the comedy is just too broad and when I’m willing to except Adam Driver’s ludicrous pronunciation of “cauliflower,” you know a movie has to very, very broad indeed to be too broad. But go there it does. A “wacky” prison riot goes on far, far too long and doesn’t contain a single genuine chuckle. And the less said about Seth McFarlane’s unbelievably awful performance as the mincing British driver Max Chillblain, the better; the movie would have been tighter and better if he’d been written out entirely. He serves only the tiniest plot purpose and it could easily have been shifted to another character. And the movie goes a bit too long; it wants to have a big twist that isn’t, in my opinion, strictly necessary and by the time you realize that there was actually an entirely separate heist going on behind the scenes of the first heist, it’s hard to keep caring about anything. Though props to Hilary Swank for really nailing her tiny role as a hard-bitten FBI agent; she seems to essentially be doing a Clint Eastwood impression and it’s very funny. Anyway, it’s a solid movie with a lot of great entertainment; it never quite hits the great heights you feel like it could if it had been tightened up and given maybe one more solid draft. Still, it’s a lot of fun. 3 stars.
tl;dr – featuring a host of brilliant performances, this entertaining romp is a bit too long and too “clever” for its own good, but it’s still a fun watch. 3 stars.