Masterminds: Better Than Citizen Kane


Masterminds Plot Summary:

Based on a true story, to gain the affection of his female co-worker (Kristen Wiig), David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) is tricked into robbing his employer, Loomis Fargo.  When David is forced into hiding from the law, he also becomes a threat to his unhinged crime partner (Owen Wilson).

Zach Galifianakis dumps in a pool.  That’s it.  I could end the review right there.  If you’re expecting an entertaining, rant filled 900-word thesis on why Masterminds is the worst comedy of the year, you’re going to be disappointed.  Is Masterminds the worst comedy of the year? Oh, for the love of Captain Crunch, you bet it is.  I just don’t care enough to get worked up about it.  That’s how inconsequential this movie is to me.  Sure, I was mad as hell in the first half.  There came a point though where it felt like I got a lobotomy midway through the film.  I just sat there like a lump as the images transferred into my memory banks so I could at least write this review.  Who’s to blame?  It’s not the cast.  They were good sports.  I blame one man, and his name is Jared Hess.

masterminds-pic-1 Once upon a time, there was a director named Jared Hess.  In 2004, he made a little movie called Napoleon Dynamite.  It became a pop culture phenomenon, and everyone praised Mr. Hess as a comedic genius.  If Masterminds has done anything worthwhile, it once and for all exposes this guy for the overrated comedic “talent” that he is.  Even though he’s not a credited writer on this movie, it has his stink all over it.  Farts.  Poops.  Prat falls.  People falling off bikes.  The first joke of the film is someone falling off a bike while on a paper route.  Maybe this was made for 13-year-olds.  No, screw that.  I’m not going to make excuses for this movie.  Nothing is clever.  Nothing is remotely funny.  It’s a waste of time, and a complete waste of the cast.

It’s no surprise this stars 3 out of the 4 Ghostbusters.  They’re certainly no strangers to horribly underwritten projects.  Kristen Wiig does what she can.  Leslie Jones is once again relegated to shouting everything.  Jason Sudeikis is just weird.  Poor Owen Wilson is thrown to the curb.  There’s actually a monologue from Owen Wilson here that nobody laughed at, but at least he tried to force some semblance of comedy into this pig pen of a disaster.

If Kate McKinnon ever gets a halfway decent script, she’s going to deliver one hell of a movie.  This is like being a star wide receiver on the 49ers.  Even in this poop ridden screenplay with no direction, McKinnon was able to conjure up a few chuckles.  They even force a scene between her and Kristen Wiig that serves no purpose, but I’m glad they did it.  For the love of George Carlin, somebody give her a good script!  PLEASE!

masterminds-pic-2 Remember how funny Zach Galifianakis was in The Hangover?  THAT WAS SEVEN YEARS AGO!  SEVEN DAMN YEARS!  IT’S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE!  FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!  I guess I lied.  There’s your rant.  I don’t blame Zach Galifianakis.  This is Jared Hess telling him what to do, and Zach is just doing his job.  I know there’s a good comedian in there, but the performance is exactly what you think it is.  It’s Zach Galifianakis doing a thick southern accent.  He’s wearing the tight t-shirts.  They put ridiculous wigs on him.  At one point he wears a bright red cowboy outfit.  He shows his chest hair.  Back hair.  Hair in other places.  It’s the lowest common denominator, I’m sorry.  There’s nothing else to say.  Zach, I hope you were well compensated.

Other than wasting the cast, the movie is just plain dumb.  There’s no other way for me to put it.  At one point they manufacture the stupidest plot twist between Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis.  Not only is it lazy, but they don’t even capitalize on it.  They were lazy within the lazy.  Wow.

If you still find America’s Funniest Home Videos hysterical, then maybe you’ll enjoy Masterminds.  One of the tell-tale signs of a bad movie is when it feels longer than the run time.  This is barely 90 minutes, but it felt like the run time of Titanic and Dances with Wolves had a child.  I’ll give the cast here a teeny bit of credit, but that’s it.  Jared Hess thinks making a poo-poo in the pool is still funny.  I don’t know.  Let’s just leave it at that.

Rating: 3 out of 10 (Utterly Atrocious)


Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.