Masterminds Movie Review
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Masterminds is a 2016 American heist comedy film directed by Jared Hess and written by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer, and Emily Spivey. The movie stars an ensemble cast which includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Mary Elizabeth Ellis. It is based on the true story of one of the largest cash heists in United States history. The film received mixed reviews from critics upon its release.

Masterminds follows the story of David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis), an armored car driver who dreams of living an exciting life beyond his mundane existence. He hatches a plan to steal $17 million from his employer’s vault with the help of his co-worker Kelly Campbell (Kristen Wiig) and her associate Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson). Chaos ensues as their plan goes awry and they try to evade both the law enforcement agencies and the hitman hired by Steve to eliminate them. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review of Masterminds, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses while also assessing whether it was successful in delivering its intended message or not.

Cast And Characters

The cast of Masterminds features an ensemble of talented actors, each bringing their own unique flair to the film. The characters they portray are a colorful bunch, with distinct personalities that complement each other well.

One aspect that stands out is the character development throughout the movie. As the plot unfolds, audiences get to see different sides of these characters and how they evolve over time. It’s fascinating to watch them grow and change in response to the challenges they face, making for a more engaging viewing experience.

As for the acting performances, each member of the cast delivers a memorable portrayal of their respective character. Zach Galifianakis shines as David Ghantt, bringing his trademark wit and humor to the role. Kristen Wiig also impresses as Kelly Campbell, showcasing her range as an actress in both comedic and dramatic scenes. Together with Owen Wilson’s portrayal of Steve Chambers and Jason Sudeikis’ Mike McKinney, this talented group of actors elevates Masterminds beyond your typical heist comedy.

Plot Overview

The plot of Masterminds follows the story of a group of misfits who plan to rob an armored truck company. The heist is led by David Ghantt, a dim-witted driver for the company, and his co-conspirator Kelly Campbell. The two are joined by a cast of eccentric characters, including Steve Chambers, a hitman hired to take out David once the job is done.

One of the standout features of this film is its character dynamics. Each member of the group has their own unique quirks and personality traits that add depth to the story. From David’s naive charm to Kelly’s manipulative nature, the ensemble cast creates a captivating dynamic that keeps viewers engaged throughout the film. Additionally, Masterminds is full of unexpected plot twists that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats. The film’s unpredictable nature adds an element of excitement to what could have been just another heist movie.

Overall, Masterminds is an entertaining and well-crafted film that delivers on both its comedic and thrilling elements. With its strong character dynamics and surprising plot twists, it stands out as a must-see for fans of action-comedies.

Comedy And Humor

After providing an overview of the plot, it is time to explore the comedic elements of the film. Masterminds’ humor style falls under slapstick and physical comedy, with a dash of satire thrown in. The movie often relies on absurd situations and exaggerated characters to elicit laughs from its audience. However, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea since some of the gags can be a bit lowbrow.

The actors do their best to deliver the jokes with impeccable comedic timing, especially Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig, who play off each other perfectly. Owen Wilson’s character provides more subtle humor through his deadpan delivery and facial expressions. While some jokes might not land as they should have been, overall, Masterminds manages to provide enough laughs that will keep viewers entertained throughout its runtime.

Direction And Cinematography

The direction and cinematography of Masterminds deserve commendation for their impressive execution. The film’s camera angles are well-thought-out, providing a fresh perspective on the heist genre. In particular, the use of close-ups is highly effective in emphasizing the characters’ emotions and reactions. For instance, during one of the most intense scenes in the film, where David Ghantt (Zach Galifianakis) is about to rob an armored truck, the audience can feel his nerves through the extreme close-up shots of his sweating face.

Moreover, the visual storytelling in Masterminds is top-notch. The director manages to create a cohesive narrative using visuals alone without relying too heavily on dialogue. The juxtaposition of various shots creates an engaging sequence that keeps the audience glued to their seats. One notable example is when Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson) visits David’s house; instead of explaining that Steve is manipulating David, we see it visually through a series of shots showing Steve taking advantage of David’s innocence. Overall, Masterminds’ direction and cinematography contribute significantly to its overall success as a heist comedy film.

The filmmakers behind Masterminds have done an excellent job with their choice of camera angles and visual storytelling techniques. These elements elevate the film beyond being just another generic heist comedy movie. From effective use of close-ups to visual storytelling sequences that help build tension and create emotional depth for characters, this film showcases how important these elements are in creating a compelling cinematic experience. Ultimately, it’s clear that much thought and effort went into making Masterminds an entertaining ride from start to finish.

Reception And Critic Reviews

The reception for the movie Masterminds was mixed, with some critics praising its comedy and performances while others found it lacking in originality and depth. The film, which was directed by Jared Hess and starred Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis, grossed $29 million at the box office against a budget of $25 million.

Despite its star-studded cast and potential for laughs, audiences did not respond as favorably to Masterminds as they did to other comedies of the year. Many viewers found the humor to be too predictable and repetitive, with some criticizing the film for relying too heavily on physical gags rather than witty dialogue. Ultimately, while Masterminds may have had its moments of hilarity, it failed to leave a lasting impression on many moviegoers.

Themes And Messages

The themes and messages in Masterminds are not overtly stated, but rather subtly woven throughout the film. One of the most prominent themes is power dynamics, especially between those in authority and those who are subordinate. The film explores how individuals in positions of power can use their authority to manipulate and control those beneath them, highlighting the corrupt nature of such actions. This theme is exemplified through the character of David Ghantt, who is coerced into robbing a bank by his superior at work, Kelly Campbell. Through his experiences, the audience sees firsthand how easy it is for someone with influence to exploit someone without it.

Another prevalent theme in Masterminds is moral ambiguity. The film blurs the lines between right and wrong, showcasing how individuals can justify their actions even when they know they are doing something unethical or illegal. For instance, David Ghantt justifies his involvement in the heist by saying that he was promised a better life with more money. Similarly, Kelly Campbell rationalizes her actions by claiming she was only trying to help her friend get out of a bad situation. These justifications create an interesting dynamic where characters who are typically seen as villains can be sympathized with, while those who may be perceived as heroes have questionable motives. Overall, Masterminds presents complex themes that challenge viewers’ perceptions of morality and power dynamics.

Final Verdict

The entertainment value of “Masterminds” is undeniable. With a star-studded cast and a plot that keeps the audience on their toes, it is an enjoyable experience from start to finish. The pacing of the film is steady, never dragging or feeling rushed. Instead, it maintains a consistent flow that allows the story to unfold naturally.

In terms of its impact on the heist genre, “Masterminds” may not necessarily break new ground or revolutionize the genre in any way. However, it does offer a fresh take on the classic formula with its humorous approach and unique characters. Additionally, the film’s cultural relevance cannot be ignored as it explores themes such as greed and corruption in America’s heartland. Overall, “Masterminds” is a fun and entertaining movie that offers a worthwhile viewing experience for fans of the heist genre.

As far as final verdicts go, “Masterminds” delivers an enjoyable ride with its strong entertainment value and well-paced storyline. While it may not drastically alter or elevate the heist genre in any significant way, it does offer a refreshing twist on familiar tropes and themes. Its cultural relevance also adds depth to its narrative and provides commentary on current societal issues. Ultimately, “Masterminds” is worth checking out for anyone looking for a good time at the movies.


The action-comedy film, Masterminds, boasts of a star-studded cast that includes Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis. The movie is based on the true story of one of the biggest heists in US history. Galifianakis plays the role of David Ghantt – a naive armored car driver who gets caught up in a plan to rob his own company. Wiig portrays Kelly Campbell – his accomplice and love interest. Wilson appears as Steve Chambers – the mastermind behind the heist.

Director Jared Hess’s unique style of humor is evident throughout the movie. The characters’ quirks and oddities are exaggerated for comedic effect. Some jokes may seem forced, but overall, the humor is light-hearted and entertaining. The cinematography is visually appealing with bright colors and quirky camera angles that add to the movie’s comedic tone.

Masterminds received mixed reviews from critics with some praising its humor while others criticizing its lack of substance. However, it should be noted that the movie was not made to be taken too seriously but rather to provide laughs and entertainment.

The themes of greed and betrayal are prevalent throughout Masterminds with a message that crime never pays off in the end. While it may not be groundbreaking or thought-provoking cinema, Masterminds delivers on what it promises – an enjoyable comedy experience. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun-filled movie night with friends or family, Masterminds is definitely worth checking out!

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