Brothers Bloom, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane. Comic action adventure. Written & directed by Rian Johnson.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Two brothers try to con a kooky heiress in this eccentric comedy adventure. The Bloom brothers have perfected their craft through years of fraternal teamwork. Now they've decided to take on one last spectacular job--luring a beautiful heiress into an elaborate plot that takes them around the world.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Thereís something captivating about con-artist movies. From the 1964 film Bedtime Story with Marlon Brando and David Niven, to the Redford/Newman classic The Sting, to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Caine, audiences have accepted the gentlemen-thief genre, perhaps due to a subconscious fascination with larceny. I consider The Sting to be a great film and view it occasionally, despite a few objectionable words, which is all that hinders it from being moviemaking at its best. As a Christian, thatís strange, I know, because itís about con men, people who not only make a living off suckers, but could care less about what happens to their victims. There are few things worse than a thief, and the thought of conspiring to take someone elseís money or possessions is revolting to me. And yet, when Paul Newman and Bob Redford do it in The Sting or Sean Connery does it in Entrapment, itís fun to watch. Go figure.

As to The Brothers Bloom, itís a mix of several of the above films, with the addition of several quirky characters reminiscent of those that peopled Harold and Maude, Brewster McCloud, TVís The Avengers and Hanna-Barberaís The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Here, however, along with its edgy bizarreness, thereís also a dark, macabre mood, a dramatic, draconian theme that ultimately overwhelms the amusing nonsense. And because it seems to imitate moments from so many other con-artist films, one gets the feeling weíve witnessed routines left on the cutting room floor of superior exploits in the genre.

The cast is adroit but not necessarily charismatic, the direction is wild and woolly, forcing us to stay tuned, and there are some legitimate belly laughs. Alas, the filmís moral ambiguity and the ease with which the cast profanes Christís name hinder an otherwise interesting Machiavellian comedy of manners.

DVD Alternative: The Ladykillers is a droll comedy about some inept crooks plotting to rob a bank with the aid of a sweet, innocent old lady. Or is she? The 1955 British version with Alec Guinness, Herbert Lom, and Peter Sellers has a satirical bite. Lacking the crude language of the remake, it settles for wit and snappy storytelling. Better in so many ways than the American remake with Tom Hanks, here Alec Guinness and his gang are more eccentric than outlandish. Though it is old and in B&W, a turn-off for some, there are several hysterical moments.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Summit Entertainment

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude terms for the anatomy.

Obscene Language: Around ten, mostly the s-word.

Profanity: Seven profane uses of Godís name and three of Christís.

Violence: Fake shootings, as part of the cons; one for real, which leads to the death of a man; another man has his hand cut with a broken bottle; a jolting explosion; a car crash, no one is injured. Blood: Blood from a dying man is seen.

Sex: One sexual situation as a couple consummate their love, but the camera discreetly cuts away before it becomes too graphic.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking throughout.

Other: None

Running Time: 109 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.