‘Dumb’ humor fills ‘Masterminds’



“Masterminds,” a new film released on Sept. 30, scored a 51% User Score and 36% Critic Score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stars Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis.


From Jared Hess, director of cult hit comedies “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” comes a screwball comedy based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery, “Masterminds.”

A Loomis employee named David Ghantt steals one of the largest amounts of money in US history. Coaxed into the operation by his crush and fellow employee, Kelly Campbell, Ghantt enacts the plan masterminded by Kelly’s scheming long-time friend, Steve.

But when things go awry, Steve tips off the FBI and hires a hitman to get rid of Ghantt to keep the feds off his trial. Now, Ghantt must outrun the law, find a way to deal justice to Steve, all while trying to save his girl from the plotting mastermind.

Cinematography and Effects 3/5

With the copious amounts of humorous bodily stunts and both vehicular and property destructionis orchestrated quite well. None of the aforementioned sequences appeared fake or overloaded with CGI. They occur in quick snappy movements, adding to the ridiculousness of the already odd situation the characters find themselves in, which is a strength of this movie. The jokes and sight gags come fast without over staying their welcome.

Writing 2/5

“Masterminds” was originally supposed to come out a year ago, but was delayed due to bankruptcy of its former distributor, Relativity Media. The effects of this delay shows itself in the odd jumps in plot through the beginning of the film, moving in clunky strokes rather than planned out details. These jumps become few and far between as the film goes on, however.

As mentioned before, one of “Masterminds’” biggest strengths are its quick paced comedy. Another strength is the quality of said quick-humor. Instead of wasting time on raunchy sex jokes or pining for unfunny material, Hess sticks to his guns and uses off-the-wall antics and witty, verbal humor to work in the laughs.

While some jokes fall flat, the overall mood and pacing of the movie leaves the duds in the dust as it barrels ahead into the next zany mishap.

Acting 3/5

Zach Galifianakis leads the cast as David Ghantt, accompanied by Kristen Wiig as Kelly Campbell, Owen Wilson as Kelly’s scheming friend, Jason Sudeikis as The Hitman, Leslie Jones as FBI agent Scanlon and Kate McKinnon as Ghantt’s obsessive fiancé, Jandice. The cast does a great job in keeping up the film’s comedic timing, while accenting the scenery with their oddball characters.

However, “Masterminds” falls flat in emotion. The love triangle B plot between Ghantt, Kelly and Jandice could have had a bit more oomph to it, particularly in Ghantt’s and Kelly’s budding romance.


“Masterminds” is a dumb movie. But it’s the good kind of dumb; the humor is so dumb that it goes full circle into clever, at times. There are lots of laughs to be had during the course of the film, and director Hess certainly knows how to handle comedy. While “Masterminds” isn’t his best work, fans of Hess’s previous films will certainly find enough to enjoy.