Set in 1978 Detroit, Life of Crime is a Crime-Comedy, which tells the story of a kidnapping gone haywire. Frank Dawson played by Tim Robbins, is a corrupt real-estate developer, who shares a troubled relationship with his wife Mickey (Jennifer Aniston). Frank has a separate bank account with a lot of illegal money stored in it, which comes to the attention of two common thugs Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Mos Def). The duo then decide to kidnap Mickey and hold her for ransom. One problem though, Frank does not seem to be interested in the safety of his wife.
With a quintessential ’70s feel, and some interesting set-pieces, Life of Crime offers just enough to hold your attention till the end. The plot unravels at a decent pace and writer-director Daniel Schechter does a fine job of keeping us guessing as to what comes next. The main problem with movie? The dialogues. The lazy writing may result in you screaming (in your mind), "Come on! Say something interesting!!"
Even with great cast members, the script hardly does anything for the characters. What we end up getting is surface-level acting from the likes of Tim Robbins, Jennifer Aniston and John Hawkes. Isla Fisher, who plays Frank’s manipulative mistress Melanie, shines through the lot and so do the supporting characters played by Mark Boone Junior and Will Forte.
The humor in this movie has a lot of potential, which never really develops until the second-half. The most memorable scene in the film is the kidnapping itself, with equal amounts of tension and hilarity. On the whole, however, the movie fails to leave a lasting impression.
Why should you watch the film?
In the end, Life of Crime is just several well-executed scenes put together, but to no effect. At times, you feel bad for the great acting talent squandered, and you wish to see something more than what is on display. It does pack a special surprise in the end, which alone makes it a one-time watch. Adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel, The Switch, the film may impress the fans of the author but will leave the others (i.e. everyone!) disappointed.