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Life of Crime


Stars: Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, yasiin bey (Mos Def), Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior

Director: Daniel Schechter

The comedic theme of the wife kidnapped and the husband who doesn't want her back has been examined before (and with rather more style) by Bette Midler and Danny DeVito in Ruthless People. This one is not without interest and you want to like it more, but the skinny plot is slow to develop and Schechter's direction needs to be snappier all round: with judicious pruning the film could be much more entertaining at a trim 90 minutes or even less.

Mickey (Aniston) and her high-powered but frequently boozed husband Frank (a bleached blond Robbins) are only barely on speaking terms; their son Bo (Charlie Tahan) is an under-achiever who lacks parental support, particularly from his father.

Across town, lowlife crooks Louis (Hawkes) and Ordell (bey, aka Mos Def) hatch a plan to kidnap Mickey and take her old man for a cool million, which they know he has (unknown to his wife) in an offshore account.

Things don't quite go to plan, as slimy suitor Marshall (Forte) shows up in mid-kidnap and has to be subdued and locked in a closet. By the time the kidnappers have got Mickey to a hideout owned by hulking Nazi-worshipper Richard (Boone Junior), their psycho heavyweight assistant, however, Frank is shacked up in the Bahamas with his mistress Melanie (a brittle-hard Fisher) and has served Mickey with divorce papers.

But, as Melanie tells Ordell when he arrives to push the deal through, if Mickey were dead, Frank wouldn't have to pay alimony and might be prepared to cough up some of his million to our anti-heroes.

All this doesn't move nearly as fast as the synopsis would suggest, so that, despite more-than-decent performances all round, plus an amusing ending, the soufflé fails to rise.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Curzon Films. Colour by [ND].
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Sep 2014