What should be a cut-and-dry kidnap plot by Detroit crooks Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) soon goes amusingly awry in this showy adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch. Jennifer Aniston makes a career-best as Mickey, the pair’s victim, who soon learns that husband Frank (a brilliant, brutish Tim Robbins) has refused to pay her million-dollar ransom, having filed for divorce. When Frank’s spunky Bahamas mistress Melanie (Isla Fisher) enters the picture, it’s soon apparent that she may be more than all parties bargained for.
With big shoes to fill from previous Leonard classics (notably Tarantino’s Jackie Brown), writer and director Daniel Schechter delivers a black comedy that coasts along comfortably, but is neither sinister nor laugh-out-loud funny. Feel-good soundtrack and strong casting aside, the script – while entertaining – lacks real depth or intrigue beyond its period veneer.
As there are few surprises, it is Schechter’s perfectly pitched cast who save Life of Crime from becoming an otherwise lacklustre throwback.
Life of Crime, out on DVD.
Life of Crime review can be found in Aesthetica Issue 62, alongside additional reviews of the latest DVD releases. To pick up a copy, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com.
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