It’s hard to enjoy a film when it celebrates crassness, weakness and greed. Harder still when those character traits are embodied in a protagonist who happens to be the effortlessly irritating Zach Galifianakis. Casting the otherwise affable if dopey Owen Wilson as the bad guy doesn’t help matters either – an actor of limited range, he is just fine in a part that fits him like a glove (eg Midnight In Paris), but here his overdone witlessness is neither cute nor funny. Not surprisingly, Kristin Wiig goes close to lifting proceedings above the tawdry, but in the end it’s a lost cause.
David Ghantt (Galifianakis) is employed as a guard on an armoured van that collects and delivers oodles of money from businesses and banks etc. It is a given, as it is in so many of these ‘your ordinary life is crap’ movies, that he could not possibly be happy living such a humdrum existence. His partner Kelly (Wiig), after getting the sack, teams up with a gang of crooks led by Steve (Wilson) and they contrive to exploit David’s aching crush on Kelly to make him their ‘inside man’ in a $17 million heist. Oh for the love of a woman… David, succumbing to Kelly’s wiles, accepts the gig, but foolishly allows Steve to hold the dosh, expecting him to do the honourable thing and dole out his share of the loot asap. Which, of course, he doesn’t.
It’s a bit of a Ronald Biggs story, as David goes on the lam, ‘living it up’ in Mexico, indulging in five-star hedonism and tastelessness. Is this what we uncelebrated drudges aspire to? When the possibility arises of David dobbing Steve into the authorities, an assassin (Jason Sudeikis) is sent to eliminate David. Sudeikis’s psychotic campness, particularly when being interviewed for the assignment by Steve, is the movie’s highlight. But there is precious little else to recommend. Based on real events, the boastful revelation that two million bucks remain unrecovered tends to make the viewer an accomplice in the grubbiness.