The title “High Heels and Low Lifes” straddles two extremes, but the breezy Britcom bearing the name falls somewhere squarely in the middle. The “high heels” belong to best buddies Shannon (Minnie Driver), a no-nonsense nurse; and the more ballsy (no doubt because she’s American) Frances (Mary McCormack), a struggling actress. When the two overhear a heist taking place over Shannon’s neglectful boyfriend’s phone scanner, Frances comes up with a plan to blackmail these “low lifes” out of a cut of their score.
Shannon and Frances are newcomers to the crime game, and much of the comedy derives from their bumbling, fumbling ways–something that turns out to be rather commonplace among the veteran criminals whom they irritate. Writer Kim Fuller (the person responsible for another, rather infamous “girl power” comedy, “Spice World”) often strains to come up with convincing reasons for the women to stick to their often-failing plan, and while there are more than a few grin-worthy moments, there is a clear dearth of any that induce audible laughs.
Yet the film remains too oddly likable in its modest, non-taxing ways to be written off as a total loss. Director Mel Smith keeps the action swift and light on its feet, not to mention visually interesting; one music montage that makes generous use of split screen may be a cheap use of style to gloss over the less-than-effective substance, but it works. Also functional in a context that is less so is the work of the leads; Driver gets to show off the cool comic timing that still hasn’t found an ideal vehicle, and making for a good contrast is the brash (sometimes overly so) McCormack. All in all, amusing and average “High Heels and Low Lifes” won’t leave audiences with too many bad memories — mostly because it evaporates from memory as soon as the closing crawl begins.