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TIFF 2013 Review: Life of Crime


There is no whole to Life of Crime, just random parts that on their own do well enough to entertain in this adequate and well-meaning piece of mediocrity. A talented yet curious cast makes up a series of scenes that don’t really go together, but still charm.

In 1970’s Detroit, Mos Def and John Hawkes are criminals Ordell and Louis: not exactly half-wits, but certainly not working with a full deck at times. For example, in their kidnapping scheme, they solicit the help of a hefty nazi-loving pervert, using his vast arsenal and swastika-adorned house.

Another hole in their plan to get an million dollars comes in the form of Frank Dawson.  A rich, selfish, drunk of a husband, played with some enjoyment by Tim Robbins, he doesn’t much care for his beautiful wife Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), the woman Ordell and Louis look to abduct and hold for ransom. He is already in the Bahamas and ready for divorce, spending time with another woman (Isla Fisher) when the messy kidnapping goes down.

It’s messy because a doting awkward friend of Mickey Dawson is a mustachioed fool played by Will Forte, and he shows up to woo as she is beset by Ordell and Louis. The rest follows as expected, with lies and deceit and comedic antics. Also, Louis, the more sympathetic of the two of course starts to take kindly to Mickey, so there’s that. The funny comes in waves, and the end comes with a chuckle and a shrug.

[star v=25]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.