Movie review: ‘Life of Crime’ is tepid caper comedy

First Published Aug 28 2014 04:59PM      Last Updated Sep 03 2014 09:52 am

It’s rather sad that the late Elmore Leonard, the author who created the source material for "Get Shorty" and "Jackie Brown," isn’t around to take his name off the tepid caper comedy "Life of Crime."

In Detroit 1979, low-lifes Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Yasiin Bey) make a plan: Kidnap Mickey Dawson (Jennifer Aniston), the country-club wife of rich but corrupt developer Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins), and demand a $1 million ransom.

The hitch is that Frank is planning to marry his girlfriend Melanie (Isla Fisher) in the Bahamas, so a dead Mickey would save him the cost of a divorce. Also in the mix are a milquetoast family friend (Will Forte) and the Nazi-obsessed accomplice (Mark Boone Junior), who both lust after Mickey.

Writer-director Daniel Schechter, adapting Leonard’s novel "The Switch," sets a lackadaisical pace and makes some disturbing tone shifts — as if he couldn’t decide to go for dark comedy or light farce.

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‘Life of Crime’

Opens Friday, Aug. 22, at area theaters; rated R for language, some sexual content and violence; 94 minutes.