As far as robbery locations go, church services should be among the ripest. The chance of running into trouble is fairly low, considering that part in the rules about “turning the other cheek.” Should a hero arise anyway, everyone’s dressed in their Sunday best, so even the black belt isn’t going to have the mobility he’d have elsewhere. On top of that, it’s early. Nobody’s ready to put their life on the line in the morning. Sacrifice is an afternoon activity.
I’m certain some of these deceptively logical thoughts went through the heads of the Baker Brothers, Alan (Dallas White) and Eddy (Tim Harbolic). As they sit under the shade of a tree and mentally prepare for the robbery, you get the impression that this isn’t the first time they’ve overestimated themselves. Once they’re both on the same page, they put on some pillowcases with eyeholes and storm into the church. “Storm” might not be the right word, considering their trouble opening the front door. Regardless, they begin outside and end up inside. For the Baker brothers, that’s a victory.
“…an extended edition of the dumb criminal segment that concludes every late-night local news program.”
It’s their only victory, as it turns out. Their robbery hits a series of irreversible snags as soon as the brothers start giving the churchgoers contradictory orders. As you can probably put together by now, The Baker Brothers, written and directed by Anthony Codispoti, is an extended edition of the dumb criminal segment that concludes every late-night local news program. The film is about as amusing as any of those segments—which are pretty amusing—but just as trivial. That’s okay, though. As long as the jokes are good, anything goes. Are the jokes good?
There’s no primo material in Alan and Eddy’s disastrous robbery—nothing comes off as being particularly inspired. However, the amount of sincerity that’s applied to the brothers’ stupidity gives every gag, a gratifying spit shine. Take, for example, the moment when Eddy sees someone he knows during the robbery and immediately takes off his mask to greet him. Alan stomps over and chides Eddy for his idiocy, then tells him to put the mask back on, after everyone has already seen his face and heard his name multiple times.
In spite of the fact that none of the jokes stand out, none of them are lazy, either. In fact, when they’re thrown together with the genuine characterization, kicked down a hill, and dressed up in the distinctive milieu of the ‘50s-ish American south, The Baker Brothers is just lovable enough to overlook its lesser qualities. Isn’t that what loving movies is all about?
The Baker Brothers (2019) Written and Directed by Anthony Codispoti. Starring Dallas White, Tim Harbolic, Jessica Ambuehl, John Criswell, Dave Gaylor, Bruce Purcell.
7 out of 10 stars