x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

We preview the American crime comedy Life of Crime, the opening film of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Jennifer Aniston in Life of Crime. Courtesy ADFF
Jennifer Aniston in Life of Crime. Courtesy ADFF

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival opens tonight with the American crime comedy Life of Crime. It’s likely you haven’t got a ticket, so here are some interesting facts to keep you going.

When’s it showing?

It screens at the Emirates Palace tonight at 8pm, to open the festival.

Great, can I go and see it?

Unlikely. Mere mortals like you or me are unlikely to be getting tickets to the red carpet gala screening. You’ll have to wait until it comes out next year.

What’s it about?

It’s based on The Switch, by the late American novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard, a crime-comedy about a couple of ne’er-do-wells who plan to kidnap Mickey Dawson, the wife of a wealthy American industrialist – only to find that he’s not too fussed about getting her back. Published in 1978, it’s been described as one of his best books and was a New York Times bestseller. It was the last film in which Leonard was involved.

Who’s in it?

Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Mos Def and Jennifer Aniston.

Hang on, didn’t Jennifer Aniston appear in a film called The Switch?

Yes, but that was a mostly bad romcom with Jason Bateman.

And wasn’t a film called Switch just filmed in Dubai?

Yes, but that’s a Chinese action film starring Hong Kong’s Andy Lau.

Who’s behind Life of Crime?

It has been produced by Image Nation (part of Abu Dhabi Media which also owns The National), in association with Hyde Park Entertainment, and directed by Daniel Schechter. Up until recently it was simply known as the Untitled Elmore Leonard Project.

Is it going to be any good?

Well, previous Leonard adaptations such as 1997’s Jackie Brown (from the book Rum Punch), 1998’s Out of Sight and 1995’s Get Shorty have been great. It’s actually a prequel to Jackie Brown, set 15 years earlier but involving the same two bumbling ex-cons.

Have people already seen it?

Life of Crime closed the Toronto Film Festival last month, just three weeks before the author passed away.

And what did they say?

The Hollywood Reporter said the film was “greeted with lots of laughs” and received “warm applause at the end”. The Guardian described it as a “good-natured, show-not-tell treat”. Variety said it was a “fitting tribute to Elmore Leonard”.

Have you got a fascinating fact about the film for us?

It was in development back in 1986 with Diane Keaton as Mickey Dawson set to star, but was canned after being considered too similar to the film Ruthless People.

How about another?

On set in Connecticut, Jennifer Aniston was reported to have behaved like a “diva”, living in a trailer miles from everyone else and not having lunch with the other cast or crew. Perhaps she just gets bad breath after eating.