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Review: 'The Con is On' is a funny mess

Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 4:48 PM Central

by John Couture

Do you ever wonder what would happen if Quentin Tarantino got together with Guy Ritchie to pull off a heist film? Well, wonder no more because The Con is On is the result.

A star-studded cast comes together as a con artist couple must complete a jewel heist to appease a sexy gangster who they conned earlier. While the film's logline sounds like any number of middling comedies from the last two decades, there are some genuine moments in the film that help to elevate it over its predecessors.

In case you were wondering what Uma Thurman has been up to lately, The Con is On will help to give you an idea. Basically, she has been swimming in a fountain of youth because she looks as exquisite here as she did in her scene-stealing moments from Pulp Fiction. These days, she's slumming around with another Tarantino vet in Tim Roth and their on-screen chemistry is top-notch.

In order to pay back the money they stole from sexy gangster Irina, played perfectly by Maggie Q, they resort to stealing a prized jewel from Tim Roth's character's ex-wife, the dim-witted Jackie, think Paris Hilton to the extreme. Jackie is brought to life by Alice Eve with such conviction, that you might actually begin to wonder if she had a brain transplant recently.

The great cast is rounded out by phenomenal actors such as Steven Fry, Sofia Vergara, and Crispin Glover. I know it sounds like I'm just name-dropping here, but it's just a testament to the high-level talent that the film was able to score. A real highlight is another '90s indie queen Parker Posey who gives her best performance in years as a quirky personal assistant. Yes, they all came to play for this film and their hard work shows off in the final product.

Of course, that's not to say that everything is a home run here. The film has a few slow moments and it's almost as if the story is secondary to simply giving these actors room to improvise their way through the scenes. Sure, these are some of the finest improvisational actors of our generation, but perhaps the film would have been better served with tighter direction from newcomer writer/director James Oakley.

The film does play out as a bit of nostalgia porn as you start to pine for these actors in their better-known roles, but for the most part it works. In many ways, the film has a real Elmore Leonard feel to it and I could see this being paired well with The Big Bounce or Get Shorty.

These types of heist films have a dear spot in my heart and for that reason alone I enjoyed The Con is On. This is precisely the type of film that audiences adore and critics loathe, but there's nothing wrong with that. Just as picking up an copy of US Weekly can be a guilty pleasure, so can watching a fun film where you can check your brain at the door and simply laugh at the absurdity of it all. The Con is On is definitely this type of film.

The Con is On is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.