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Flypaper: Just Another Bank Heist Comedy

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Flypaper
Directed by Rob Minkoff
Opens August 19

More generic Indiewood product burbles down the Sundance pipeline in this slick, manic, excruciatingly hollow entry in the exhausted subgenre of misfit bank-heist comedies, scripted by hot studio hacks Jon Lucas and Scott Moore more than a decade ago. ("From the writers of The Hangover," boasts the poster, shrewdly forgetting to mention "and director Rob Minkoff, that guy behind The Lion King, Stuart Little, and The Haunted Mansion.") The strained caper's only post-Soderbergh wrinkle is that two hooligan crews—one a team of ninja-stealthy, tech-savvy professionals (Mekhi Phifer, Matt Ryan, John Ventimiglia), the other a stupid hillbilly duo code-named Peanut Butter and Jelly (Tim Blake Nelson, Pruitt Taylor Vince)—are simultaneously trying to rob the same branch, but is it a coincidence? Stuck in the Mexican standoff are leading man/producer Patrick Dempsey, as a mentally unstable, silver-tongued, roguishly unshaven customer with a knack for math and piecing together conspiracies, and Ashley Judd, as the newly engaged teller with whom he shares no screen chemistry. Once the setup devolves into a goofy, convoluted murder mystery in the vein of Clue or Murder by Death, the ensemble's amped-up histrionics rub against each other without ever catching fire. You would think that Minkoff, a former Disney animator, would have more luck pumping life into a farce this cartoonish.

 
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