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Welcome to Collinwood

Starring William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Luis Guzman, Patricia Clarkson, Andrew Davoli, George Clooney, Jennifer Esposito, Gabrielle Union
Written and Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo

IN SHORT: Delightful. [Rated R for Language. 85 minutes]

... and it came to pass that the greatest criminal minds of all time didst come together to plan and commit the Ultimate Criminal Act. It is to be a burglary so dangerous and complicated that none, aye say it again, NONE before has attempted so dastardly a deed. Of these minds there are five, and these five are Riley the baby maker (William H. Macy), Pero the Mullinsky (Sam Rockwell), Leon the Suit (Isaiah Washington), Basil the Invisible (Andrew Daovli) and Toto the Idiot who Nicknamed Himself After a Dog and is Afraid of Heights (Michael Jeter). So clever are these five that only four will show for the big Bellini at the Wiener Brothers Pawn Shop to orchestrate the job left to them by mastermind Cosimo (Luis Guzman), who is ready to wreak vengeance on the fellow inmate who stole his plans for the big heist. That is, if he can figure out how to ride the local mass transit buses.

Don't worry about burglar terminology like Bellini and Mulllinski and Kaputchnik. You're all much more intelligent than these guys, for whom our applied term "greatest criminal minds of all time" was induced by an overdose of painkillers, some of which made their way into the hysterically funny slapstick script by writer directors Anthony & Joe Russo.

Add to our merry bunch Cosimo's lady love Rosalind (Patricia Clarkson), whose determination brings our merry band together; Leon's sister Michele (Gabrielle Union) who almost single handedly brings the entire plan down; paraplegic safecracking teacher Jerzy "the Rabbi" (George Clooney) who wants his five hundred bucks student activity fees up front and in cash; and ace Cleveland Police Detective Babitch (David Warshofsky), always in the right place at the wrong time and, you just know, waiting for the properly delivered under the table hand out.

That's about all the space we can fill without spilling any of the gags that fly at such a furiously funny pace that the only rip off that we were aware of was the one we felt when the movie ended so damned soon. Not that it runs any shorter than the average flick. It just feels like it does. That defines pure entertainment for us.

Collinwood, it must be pointed out, is lovingly referred to as "The Beirut of Cleveland" is a nice bit of graffiti that codas the film. The stars aren't the brightest in the galaxy, our sarcasm notwithstanding, but all have desperate goals that only a really big score can fulfill. Like the crime or not, the bumbling bunch is sympathetic to the nth power. Add a little sex appeal in the presence of a maid named Carmella (Jennifer Esposito) and a humdinger of a more than enjoyable, Godzilla sized popcorn extravaganza is laid out for you.

We're doing a helluva lot of dancing about what we'll tell you about Collinwood since all the character development is closely interwoven with very funny jokes and sympathetic/ pathetic decisions made on the part of our "heroes". These are guys who want out of their criminal lifestyle. They want to take care of families and live the American dream. The only problem is that they're completely incompetent to do so and their efforts to overcome those hangups provide extraordinarily funny moments.

See it. Welcome to Colllinwood best defines a truly enjoyable blue collar movie comedy.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Welcome to Collinwood, he would have paid . . .


So, if you've got no objection to four letter verbs used profusely as nouns, and don't know your xellman from your belitnikoff, you'll be fine.

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