Argue. Argue. Argue. That's how the robbers spend their time in BANDITS,
directed clumsily by Barry Levinson. In it, Bruce Willis and Billy Bob
Thornton play a couple of "ha ha" funny bank robbers named Joe and Terry.
Although they are supposedly the most successful bank robbers in the history
of the United States, these two irritating characters appear to be smart
guys acting dumb, or perhaps it's the other way around. In either case,
after a half hour of their schtick, I was ready to yell out, "All right
Thornton, channeling Woody Allen at his worst, plays the story's central
character. With nerdy, rimless glasses, Terry is a hyper-hypochondriac who
begs sheepishly to go back to the safety of prison after their big breakout.
With a reality TV twist, the host of "Criminals at Large" tells the robbers'
story in flashback. Cate Blanchett plays Kate, the wacky wife of a bad
kisser, who leaves her uncaring husband for a life of crime with the
"sleep-over bandits," the nickname given to Joe and Terry for their M.O.
They kidnap the bank manager the night before the robbery. This
necessitates having a little slumber party with the manager's family before
The movie fails the laugh test miserably. I never laughed although there
were a few members of my audience, including two women on either side of me,
who went wild over it. Terry kept staring at Joe with a "This is stupid"
kind of condescending look. I'm with Terry. As bad movies love to do,
BANDITS has a Steve McQueen movie playing on television in one of the
scenes. I couldn't tell which one it was, but it had to have been better
BANDITS runs a long 2:05. It is rated PG-13 for "some sexual content,
language and violence" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes