Low expectations can be good. Movie studios sometimes set the bar too high for their films via the trailers and you end up leaving the theater saying, “The best stuff was in the trailer!”
The opposite was true of Masterminds. Zach Galifianakis and Kristin Wiig star as Loomis Fargo drivers in North Carolina in 1997 who steal $17 million in a based-on-at-true-story heist. The pratfalls, physical comedy, gross-outs and stereotypes from the trailer looked to be tired, but in fact were spontaneous and felt true to the comedic story. No one wears man bangs, an innocently creepy grin and novelty T-shirts with Spanish sayings quite like Galifianakis. And with the exception of Melissa McCarthy, all the ladies from Ghostbusters were here: Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, and all slammed their time on screen out of the park. McKinnon’s deadpan take on Galifianakis’ trailer park fiancée was equal parts disturbing and endearing, and their engagement photo shoot was a lesson in how Awkward Family Photos get made.
The sight gags, especially as they relate to the clothes, are mostly about the late ’90s. There was a joke on How I Met Your Mother about how the ’80s in Canada arrived about a decade after it arrived in the U.S., and according to Masterminds, the same is true for the South. Every time Galifianakis strolled (or rollerbladed) into a scene, it’s played for a laugh, not just because of the hairdo, but because of his ridiculous wardrobe. Yeah, he’s playing a small town guy on the run in Mexico, so his disguises are what he can get his hands on, but the level of ostentatiousness is nuts. And funny. And completely not what most people actually wore in 1997. Each character’s clothing is played for laughs, not just Galifianakis. You had the aforementioned rollerblades, high top shoes, mom jeans and that particular crimped, bleached and fried-out permed hair look so many women wore in the ’80s (’90s in the Carolinas, apparently).
It’s always a good sign when you’re already quoting the movie you just watched as you walk out of the theater, and I for one, shall endeavor to add “banged” as a verb for getting my hair trimmed to my vocabulary.
Director: Jared Hess
Writer: Chris Bowman & Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey (Screenplay); Emily Spivey and Chris Bowman & Hubbel Palmer (Story)
Photo Credit: Glen Wilson, Copyright: © 2014 Armored Car Productions, LLC Courtesy of Relativity Studios