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Jerry and his two pals, Russ and Syd, are just looking for some easy money to help them break out of their nowhere lives in their nowhere town. Despite a bungled jewelry store heist which exposes their incompetence as criminals, a fateful event (and an old black-and-white film) convinces them that they can pull off an armored-truck robbery. While they are busy plotting their caper, their dysfunctional families spin out of control all around them.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
In New Jersey three friends are out of work and out of prospects for improvement. Their first attempt at crime fails when they break into a bakery they mistake for the back of a jewellers shop. Russell's brother in law is a cop who knows that he is up to no good, however Russell still wants the trio to do one reasonable job to help them onto their feet. The next step is the robbery of an armoured car. However, are they bad at being bad or just to good to be bad.
There have been quite a few films that make comedy of inept criminals, however this film is more than that. Rather than being figures of fun, these are good people without much hope who resort to crime in rather amateur way, for example to help plan their job they hire a 1950's crime thriller called `Armoured Car Robbery' from the video store. There are no pratfalls or physical humour but instead gentle stuff that is amusing.
The title comes from the line in On The Waterfront in which Marlon Brando bemoans his failure as a fighter as a `one-way ticket to Palookaville' or being a loser. The three men of the title are losers, but they are good, likeable people in difficult situations. Happily the film allows us into their lives so that they are not just `inept criminals' caricatures. The dialogue is involving but also snappy and witty. The strong cast help this enormously. Gallo is really good in the lead and the actual moment when he realises that he may be in a tough spot but he is not a bad person is really quite touching. Forsythe is good and wears his sensitive side well on his sleeve. Trese has the most difficult character the danger would be he becomes the `drama' side of the film, but he handles it well with good support from his on-screen wife Hamilton. The support cast of family and lovers all are really believable characters, although the film really belongs to the lead three.
Overall I suspect many will find this slight and not as funny as they expected. However I found it a well written (sharp yet real dialogue) with respect for it's characters finding humour in their situations and approach rather than making them comedy characters. Add this to some well pitched performances and it makes for a film that does what it sets out to do and does it better than many of it's ilk.
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