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The end credits of Masterminds reveal the real David Ghantt (portrayed by Zach Galifianakis) as a consultant on the film. This of course leads to the question, “What did Ghantt, one of the perpetrators of one of the biggest heists in history, mean to get out of consulting?” The final product hardly papers over his guilt, though it does make him out to be a fairly nice guy. In a way, this is emblematic of the work of director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Gentlemen Broncos): oddballs are treated with matter-of-fact respect and only receive true comeuppance if they are cruel to other oddballs.

Masterminds is basically a collection of lunacy in search of a moral, or defiantly devoid of one. Or maybe it just never occurred to anybody that a lesson might be a good idea. Weirdly, the armored car robbery is more or less a victimless crime, as most of the heisted cash belongs to the banks. But this is not a Bonnie and Clyde or Robin Hood situation where capitalism is the enemy. Instead, it is more like the opening of Pandora’s Box, in which a surplus of surprises explodes in everyone’s faces. Quite literally, in fact: there are multiple scenes with explosions, and the m.o. of Masterminds is such that the most notable damage is clothes getting ruined. It’s a weird movie about the endurance of weirdness in moral degradation.

I give Masterminds my approval of its existence.

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