I haven't been the biggest fan of Jennifer Aniston's movie career. The trailers to The Bounty Hunter and Love Happens inspired what I like to call "The Aniston Theory." But recently We're The Millers started to break the actress's streak of misery, and the trailer for her latest film, Life Of Crime, seems to continue the trend upward.
Thanks to Yahoo, we have our first look at the 1970's period comedy, which co-stars Tim Robbins, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Isla Fisher, and John Hawkes. The film is based off of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, and involves a housewife whose husband isn't too worried when she's kidnapped by two thugs demanding a ransom. In true Leonard fashion, more people start to get involved in the proceedings, and things start to get a little crazier with each new contestant.
While I'm not a huge Jennifer Aniston fan, I'm a huge fan of Elmore Leonard's prose and the better films that are made from it. This looks to be a decent – but not impressive – outing in the crazy world of Leonard's works. It all looks a little too spot on, as if the formula is just so omnipresent at this point that the title card at the end letting you know it's based off a Leonard novel is supposed to do some of the comedic lifting before you see the film. All of the gripes aside, this looks like a solid Video On Demand/rental choice, in part because Ms. Aniston (as well as the rest of the cast) manage to pull of Leonard's brand of crazy with a light degree of effectiveness. It's no Jackie Brown, but it's certainly no The Big Bounce.
Funny story: we almost had a version of this film with Dennis Farina and Diane Keaton back in 1986. Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox put it on ice as Ruthless People was kind of a big deal at the time, and the similarities between the two projects were (and still are) undeniable. One of the big factors that does separate this story from the Danny DeVito/Bette Midler vehicle is the fact that it was a spiritual prequel to Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. All of you literature geeks and Quentin Tarantino fanatics know that this is the novel Jackie Brown was based off of, and it contains the characters of Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara, who were previously played by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro, respectively. Played in this film by Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and John Hawkes, respectively, they are two of the many characters that recur in Elmore Leonard's fictional canon, and they look just as effective here as they do in their future endeavor.
Life Of Crime will be released in theaters and video on demand on August 29th. If you haven't seen Jackie Brown yet, or haven't seen it in a while, it's probably best not to watch it until you've seen this one first, so as to avoid any preconceived criticism.