Predicated on the oft-repeated suckitude of being charged $1.50 when you use an ATM machine, writer-director Andrews Jenkins’s feature debut plops an unfortunately nicknamed slacker, Jinx (Nick Stahl), inside a bank vault with a sneaky hottie in a black wig and horny-secretary glasses, Jessica (Erika Christensen), and banally observes their casually implausible philosophical rants against the system of corporate fees that conspires to steal from us everyday. Outside the vault, trying to bust in, is a gang of thieves headlined by the lead singer of Bush, and outside the bank is a legion of scarcely-antsy cops overseen by Officer DeGepse (Terry Crews), with cellphones opening a mainline of communication between the warring fronts and, later, a mysterious outsider (David Carradine) with his fingers in the vault’s cookie jar. Jenkins tries to sustain interest in what is, essentially, a short-film premise by padding the script with cruelly unfunny wordplays (“How are you two holding up,” says an oblivious DeGepse to Jinx and Jessica), “tips” on how to get away with an actual bank robbery (among them “Have a plan” and “Don’t get greedy”), and laying out a heist lexicography that incorporates Duran Duran’s discography. No one has the sense to bring up that Jinx wouldn’t be slapped with a $1.50 service fee if he used one of his own bank’s ATMs, but common sense is not the film’s best defense. Shot with an ad man’s eye, meaning an excess of money-squandering special effects to evoke the wall of gears and gadgets that separates Jinx and Jessica from the world outside, How to Rob a Bank operates under the delusion it’s a scabrous genre autopsy, when really it’s one Nina Simone song short of being a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
- IFC Films
- 81 min
- Andrews Jenkins
- Andrews Jenkins
- Nick Stahl, Erika Christensen, Gavin Rossdale, Terry Crews, Leo Fitzpatrick, David Carradine, Adriano Aragon, Britt De Lano
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