Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A guy goes into a bank to take out some money from an ATM and finds he’s in the middle of a robbery led by the dude from Bush. He flees like a bitch into a local safe, and discovers that he has to get out, and that the lead singer from Bush wants in. Now there’s a stand off, and a former football player is playing the arbitrator.
I’m in a bit of a corner with “How to Rob a Bank,” admittedly, because while I enjoyed it mainly for its interesting and potentially taut concept, Jenkins is sure his film is clever. He’s so sure his film is clever he tends to break the fourth wall on a few occasions, wants to clue us in on how screwed we are financially, shoves wholly self-aware “witty” dialogue down our throats, and draws an array of characters so grating that you almost wish they’d die in the hail of gunfire.
Jenkins is also so sure of himself that he has to attempt a consistent commentary through his main character Jinx who rants about banks and their crooked practices, and the gradual screwing of the impoverished, but really, when you get down to it all, it’s just some schmuck in a safe bitching about a $1.50 lost while attempting to take some money from his account. Is he trying to berate these characters for bitching over trivial nonsense, is he trying to provide a genuine statement about how the poor are always one step behind in the world, or both?
I, for one, could never be sure, but damned if I didn’t enjoy it even in spite of Jenkins attempts to convince us of his genius. Jenkins wants to toggle between genres, and three different arcs based around a series of inane idiosyncrasies that the cast really tries to endure with the best of their ability. Nick Stahl and Christensen have a genuine chemistry with one another while selling the sexual dynamic well enough to warrant interest. Rossdale saves the film as the resident disgruntled bank robber forced into a corner by the selfish protagonist Jinx, and Christensen as fellow stalwart Jessica brings a very strong sexual appeal to her character and picks up the slack for what would be a generally forgettable character.
In the more inexplicable aspects, I never understood the gag with Fitzpatrick’s character, nor did I really comprehend what Carradine’s purpose was in the grand scheme of things, but “How to Rob a Bank” has a good tongue in cheek attitude about itself that’s generally fun, as is the unraveling for the twist in the climax that’s quite surprising in its circumstances. In spite of the caveats, it makes for a good time with Christensen providing lovely eye candy, but as for Jenkins and his hipper than thou dialogue, and gritty direction? I’m not impressed.