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Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Film Review | Life of crime

This oddly titled adaptation of American crime writer Elmore Leonard’s The Switch works hard to achieve a low-life vibe through big-name actors. It’s set in 1978, the year Jennifer Anniston’s Mickey Dawson becomes aware that her marriage to obnoxious real estate developer Frank (Tim Robbins) is as exciting as her country club dinners and the attentions of dweeby neighbour Marshall (Will Forte). Being kidnapped by duo Ordell (Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) is about as adventurous as it gets for Mickey, but will Frank, who is shacked up with girlfriend Melanie (Isla Fisher), pay the million-dollar ransom?

As Mickey deals with her situation, staves off the lechery of a Nazi slob who also happens to be a Peeping Tom (Mark Boone Junior), and most unconvincingly warms up to Louis, the material promises to get darkly comic, but only occasionally does.

The idea of kidnappers teaming up with the victim having already been dealt with in 1986 in Ruthless People, writer and director Daniel Schechter plays it straight and safe. Mickey’s alliance with her abductors is laid out in as matter of fact a fashion as Frank’s quickly resolved predicament to either pay up and return to his unwanted wife or forget about the threat to her life and sprint on a Bahamas beach with Melanie.

The crackling dialogue suggests wickedness and a moral emptiness that are absent from this workmanlike movie, but the sincere performances, trim 98-minute running length, and neatly calibrated twists and turns result in a watchable time-passer.

Life Of Crime released in theatres on Friday.

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