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Welcome To Collinwood

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Welcome To Collinwood

Starring: William H. Macy, Michael Jeter
Director: Anthony Russo
Rated: R
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genre: Comedy

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Do you remember "Big Deal on Madonna Street" (1958), detailing the misadventures of inept thieves trying to pull off a burglary? In this droll, caper-comedy remake, set in the working-class Collinwood section of Cleveland, Cosimo (Luis Guzman), a petty crook, is caught stealing a car and sent to prison where he meets a "lifer" who tells him of "the ultimate Bellini." That's an easy, sure-fire get-rich-quick scheme, the perfect crime. It seems there's access to a jeweler's safe through an empty apartment - and $300,000 waiting to be stolen. So Cosimo turns to his steady (Patricia Clarkson) to get him out of prison and, when that plan hits a snag, she rounds up a gang to pull the heist. There's the bumbling boxer Pero (Sam Rockwell) with a well-connected girl-friend (Jennifer Esposito), a single father (William H. Macy) who desperately needs to bail his wife from jail, dapper Leon (Isiah Washington) who'd like to help his sister (Gabrielle Union), an Italian gigolo (Andrew Davoli), and an old geezer (Michael Jeter) after one last score. And since none of them has ever cracked a safe, they seek instruction from an expert (George Clooney in an extended cameo). Cleveland natives and co-writer/directors Joe and Anthony Russo concoct this intriguing, character-driven caper comedy with the support of Steven Soderberg, who caught their student film, "Pieces," at the Slamdance Film Festival. Cleverly, the Russos detail each of these hapless, low-life losers with affection and humor, coming up with wry lines like: "I hate to say it, but this Bellini is starting to look like a real Kaputschnik." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Welcome to Collinwood" is a sly, amusing 7, a laugh-filled little gem. And if this appeals to you, rent Woody Allen's "Small Time Crooks" or "Ocean's Eleven," two other heist comedies.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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