Monday, 13 October 2008

No.84 : Welcome to Collinwood

Welcome to Collinwood at the IMDb

When Cosimo (Luis Guzman) gets pinched for a routine car theft he knows he has to get out of jail in a hurry. He has a ‘bellini’ which is well paying and sure fire criminal scheme and he‘s keen to move on it. To get out he enlists his girlfriend to find a ‘molinski’ which is basically a patsy who will own up to the crime for a cash pay off. Things go badly for Cosimo however when the molinski doesn’t convince the judge leaving Cosimo in jail and the suspended sentenced molinski free to take on the Bellini himself.

The robbery involves a jewellery shop safe, access to which is gained through a poorly built wall in the adjacent apartment. The molinski, boxer Pero (Sam Rockwell), enlists a motley crew of hard up would be criminals including William H Macy’s photographer dad and Michael Jeter’s wise old man who loses his trousers.

The scoping out of the job complicates matters when Rockwell falls for the apartment owners’ maid Eva Mendes, and her set of keys may save the day. Meanwhile the crew take lessons from George Clooney’s disabled safe cracker and pay off a cop who takes interest in their activities. With the job all set, two relationships may upset the plan as well as the small matter of some geography.

This film looks great on paper but it falls well short of the sum of its parts. The best element is the characters who are all likable despite being a bit grubby with loose morals. The chat between them is a bit grating however, with all this molinski and bellini stuff seeming a bit tacked on and unconvincing. A bit of street patois is fine but in my experience street folk call a spade a spade and fancy terms like these would soon be excised from normal conversation.

The set up is pretty poor as well. The caper is almost included as an afterthought and the big pay-off isn't worth the investment of your time. I did smile a couple of times but there were no big laughs and those funny bits were unnatural in the flow of the film, coming in a slapstick fashion that wasn't maintained elsewhere.

Macy and Rockwell give good value and largely hold the film together. Clooney is a bit of a fraudster himself as he only appears in two scenes and has about three minutes of screen time despite being the main character on the poster. In truth he’s way too good looking and clean to convince as a scummy criminal, as is Patricia Clarkston who wouldn't be seen dead begging for car thief Luis Guzman’s hand in marriage to save her life.

The film runs only for 80 minutes and it is a pleasant enough distraction. It is however lightweight and forgettable and a waste of a good opportunity.

Best Bit : Eva Mendes Hmmm nice.

‘W’ Rating 13/23

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