It’s like ‘My Cousin Vinny’, except everybody is trying really hard to sound Italian.
The film follows Matty Demaret (Barry Pepper, Johnny Marbles (Seth Green), Taylor Reese (Vin Diesel) and Chris Scarpa (Andrew Davoli), four sons of major Brooklyn mobsters who team up to retrieve a bag of cash in a small Montana town ruled by a corrupt Sheriff. Specifically, the plot gets started when Matty goes on a job to deliver the money for his mob father, Benny “Chains” Demaret (Dennis Hopper), on the advice of his uncle Teddy Deserve (John Malkovich). Things don’t go as planned though…
I honestly have no idea why I wanted to watch this other than the fact that it has a pretty cool cast and I like gangster flicks. That’s pretty much it and maybe next time I’ll be a lot more cautious.
Where co-writers/directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien dropped the ball on this flick was that it’s essentially a plot that should be pretty goofy, but takes itself a bit too serious. That’s a shame because even though the whole “mobsters in country land” plot device has all been done before, I think that this film would of had a little bit of fun with it.
That’s also another problem with this flick as everything is just about as cliché as you can get with a gangster/crime movie. There’s a boy who wants to prove to his daddy that he can make it in his work of being a gangster after being traumatized as a little guy, a crooked sheriff in country town, a Mexican stand-off, a two-timing gangster, two dope kids who end up with a big bag of money, a brawl in a Southern bar, and the list just goes on and on and on. Yeah, it’s nothing new and basically everything you get here is something we have all seen done before, but for some reason I still found myself entertained.
I don’t know what it was with this flick but even though everything here was too serious and too cliché, I still enjoyed myself watching it. The plot does take its time to get moving but somehow I found a lot of fun with that and it gave me a chance to actually get to know these characters and also be able to feel the tension building up in this story. I think that there are a couple of plot twists here and there that work in order to keep the flick going, and it’s just strange that the script had nothing new to do or say but I still found myself watching and interested in just what was going to happen next.
A lot of my enjoyment with this flick probably also had to do a lot with the cool cast they have assembled here. Barry Pepper is good in a very rare leading role here as Matty Demaret, which is a shame because this guy really does deserve bigger roles; Vin Diesel does his usual “stand there and look intimidating” act here as Taylor Reese, but don’t get me wrong it still works none the less; Seth Green seems a little too phony with his Italian accent as Johnny Marbles, but he still tries his hardest with what he’s given; Dennis Hopper shows up for a little bit and just plays the hard-ass daddy role as Benny “Chains” Demaret; Tom Noonan is probably the best out of the cast with his once again sinister performance as the crooked sheriff, Sheriff Decker; and John Malkovich seems like he’s pushing his Italian accent a little too far as well, but he’s still pretty good to watch. It’s a cast that are all pretty good at what they usually do and even though they aren’t in top-form here, they still are watchable and what I think made this film a lot less cringe-inducing than so many people have said about it.
Consensus: The plot features just about every cliché in the book, takes itself a bit way too seriously, and obviously could have done a lot more with what it had, but Knockaround Guys has a pretty good cast and some good moments that make this film at least entertaining enough to be a fun, if flawed guilty pleasure. Hate me all you want people, but I enjoyed myself.