Lying and Stealing Image

Lying and Stealing

By Hunter Lanier | November 11, 2019

Each of these players struts and frets their hour, until ultimately becoming involved in a Mexican standoff of duplicity. Some get backstabbed, some form unlikely partnerships, and other help to fill out the frame. At times, the movie can feel slick, but it mostly feels like children wearing their parents’ clothing and acting out a shoddy imitation. You can thank the screenplay, which deals in snark rather than wit. It’s reaching for something between cheeky ‘60s flirtations—think Charade or How to Steal a Million—and the tough-guy talk of Elmore Leonard, but can’t get a good grip on either. It’s also over-reliant on stock comedy, like not being able to open a car door or asking for directions at inappropriate times.

“…the object a thief would replace an art piece to prevent anyone from realizing it’s missing at first glance.”

Another blow to the movie is its two leads, who aren’t bad per se, but they don’t share chemistry or have the ability to sling lines like a bullwhip—both of which are the lifeblood of a movie like this. They seem to have been fitted into the movie because they look the part, and the consideration stopped there. What fun is stealing art if we’re not wading knee-deep through sexual tension and clever banter? Not that much fun, it turns out.

Lying and Stealing comes across as the object a thief would replace an art piece to prevent anyone from realizing it’s missing at first glance. From the side of your eye, unfocused and unassuming, it looks like the real thing; and as fakes go, it’s not half-bad. But if it has your full attention, it only takes a few moments of eye-squinting and chin-rubbing to recognize it as Dr. Thunder.

Lying and Stealing (2019)

Directed: Matt Aselton

Written: Matt Aselton, Adam Nagata

Starring: Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Fred Metamed, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Evan Handler, John Gatins, Paul Jurewicz, etc.

Movie score: 5/10

Lying and Stealing Image

"…stealing art requires a certain amount of charisma, sex appeal, and pomposity..."

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