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Welcome to Collinwood (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast and crew interviews; Behind the scenes featurettes; Trailer; TV spots.

TAKE five guys with no brains and a job that’s too good to be true and you have the recipe for one of the funniest crime capers in recent years.

Welcome to Collinwood is the latest to emerge from the George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh stable and is another offbeat addition to the quirky heist scenario.

A remake of the highly-regarded Italian comedy, Persons Unknown (or Big Deal on Madonna Street), the film is a wonderfully written and supremely well-acted character ensemble about the perils of pulling a job when you are not equipped to deal with it.

When petty thief, Cosimo (Luis Guzman), is given the plan for the perfect heist (his Bellini) while serving time, he resolves to get out of jail fast, but needs to find a ‘Mullinski’ to replace him behind bars.

But while the ensuing search turns up loads of people who would be willing to help with the job itself, no one is available to do the time and one double-cross later puts Sam Rockwell’s moronic romeo, Pero, in charge of an inept crew comprised of William H Macy’s frustrated single father, Riley; Isaiah Washington’s do-gooder, Leon; Andrew Davoli’s gigolo, Basil; and Michael Jeter’s ageing thief, Toto, as well as Cosimo’s girl, Rosalind (played by Patricia Clarkson).

Helping them along the way is George Clooney’s wheelchair-bound safe-cracking expert, Jerzy, while hot on their tail is the law.

And while the set-up is not unlike many other crime thrillers you are likely to see, the fun is to be had in the performances, with the likes of Rockwell and Macy, in particular, turning their dim-witted losers into the type of loveable rogues that the audience can root for.

But then Welcome to Collinwood is the type of film which replaces the hip sophistication of Clooney’s previous crime caper, Ocean’s 11, with the hilarious ineptitude of a Marx Brothers movie, told Coen style.

Writers and directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, prove tremendously adept at showcasing the hopelessness of the crew’s situation, rising above the conventions of the genre to produce a movie that retains an element of freshness throughout.

Visually distinctive, and boasting a well-judged soundtrack, this is a sweet-natured, if quirky, comedy that should prove a fairly safe bet for a cracking night out. The Clooney/Soderbergh sideshow has, once again, proved itself to be a reliable combination.

 

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