|"Bandits" - A Must See Romantic Comedy|
Two's Company, Three's a Crime.
"Bandits" teams two vastly different, though almost equally popular, male stars in a surprisingly hilarious mix of comedy, action, romance, bank robberies, and bad wigs. Macho man Bruce Willis and the talented chameleon Billy Bob Thornton masterfully create two pseudo "bad guys" who capture the hearts of their victims, the general public, and ultimately, the heart of the same woman.
Billy Bob Thornton describes their characters as screwballs of the "Martin and Lewis" variety. That's a fitting description of the harmlessly endearing fugitives who can't seem to catch a break, or leave the life of crime behind. Willis is the "Martin" of the group - the brains and the brawn of the operation - with Thornton playing the sidekick role to the hilt, taking it to an all new level with bizarre phobias and a constant string of questions.
"Bandits" is the story of two partners in crime - lady-killer Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and the neurotic hypochondriac Terry Collins (Billy Bob Thornton). They bust out of prison - actually Joe does all the busting while Terry just goes along for the ride - and try to make their way down the West Coast, to Mexico. Joe's got a dream of running a resort in Mexico, but in order to finance that dream, they need money - and the only thing they're good at is robbing banks.
The pair gain notoriety as the "Sleepover Bandits," arriving at a bank manager's house in the evening, spending the night, and then accompanying them to the bank first thing in the morning. That way they avoid customers, security guards, and other interruptions - at least that's how it works on paper. Things are going semi-well until Kate (Cate Blanchett) crashes her way into the mix. She's almost as neurotic as Terry, and even more of a ditz. Her husband ignores her, her life is boring and tedious, and she's seeking a way to escape her loveless marriage. Kate finds that escape, as she finds herself attracted to Joe first, and, with much reluctance mixed with a good deal of whining, eventually equally as attracted to Terry.
Director Levinson gives the love triangle plenty of room to grow, and the audience is rewarded with some wildly entertaining scenes between Willis and Thornton as rivals for Cate's affection. "Bandits" also benefits from some superb supporting players including Troy Garity (Jane Fonda's son) as the getaway driver who longs to be a stuntman. His character's a male bimbo, and next to worthless as a getaway driver, but he's also perfectly harmless (these criminals don't seem to have a mean bone in their bodies). Garity's a refreshing addition to the cast of older, established actors, and adds an element of more physical comedy to the group. In addition to looking gorgeous, Cate Blanchett is terrific as the kidnap victim who slowly evolves into an integral member of the bank robbing team.
"Bandits" is refreshing, entertaining, and one of the best film's of the year. Willis, Thornton and Blanchett have created characters the audience can root for - even though they're on the wrong side of the law. "Bandits" is loaded with personality, comic gems, and is sure to leave audiences begging for more.