x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Flypaper: bank heists are guaranteed fun, except for this one

Bank jobs often provide cinematic slam-dunks, but in spite of its compelling set-up, Flypaper is too lightweight to deliver the goods.

Flypaper
Director: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Jeffrey Tambor
**

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, nor a movie by its poster. An animated title sequence, on the other hand, is fair game. The bank heist "romp" Flypaper opens with an animation that aims to pay tribute to the titles of the crime capers North by Northwest and The Pink Panther, yet lacks any of their imagination or wit. The stickmen and dollar bills darting across the screen look like they were created using only the clip art library on Microsoft Word 95. When they arrive, most of the live-action characters are little more than stickmen themselves.

The movie begins with two sets of thieves who discover they are attempting to rob a bank at the same time. One group is highly trained, with assault weapons and a computer expert. The other is a pair of hillbillies who haven't even thought to cover their faces. Then there's the attractive bank teller, due to be married the next day (Judd), who is taken hostage along with the other staff and customers. Their only hope is a possibly autistic numbers genius with leading-man good looks (Dempsey), able to guide them, and us, through the film's never-ending plot contrivances.

From Dog Day Afternoon to Heat, bank jobs often provide cinematic slam-dunks, but in spite of its compelling set-up, Flypaper is too lightweight to deliver the goods. Minkoff, notable for co-directing the Disney classic The Lion King, has made a comedy-thriller that is never funny or thrilling, but surely he, if anyone, could have done something about those animated titles.