Welcome to Collinwood is to Ocean’s Eleven what Danni Minogue is to Kylie: a less fashionable little sister. Sharing producers (George Clooney and Steve Sodenburgh) with its sibling, Collinwood features the same basic premises: a group of crooks attempting to pull off a heist. Clooney only makes a cameo appearance dressed as a Rabbi, which doesn’t really have the same sex appeal as a doctor’s coat. But, I digress.
Welcome to Collinwood is the story of the pursuit of the perfect crime. When a fellow in-mate informs Cosimo (Luis Guzman’s petty criminal) of a ‘Bellini’ – a sure-fire, get-rich-quick job, he enlists his girlfriend to find him a ‘Mullinsky’ – a clown to serve his sentence while he executes the plan. But all the potential Mullinskies want in on the Bellini, even though their bungling may turn the whole caper into a ‘Kaputschnik’. Once it has been established we’re not talking abouta pasta sauce and some kind of Russian weapon, the film follows the fortunes of boxer Pero (Sam Rockwell) and his downtrodden gang (William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Michael Jeter) as an apparently simple operation goes terribly awry.
However, Welcome to Collinwood suffers from belonging to the tired, done-to-death genre of heist films. In theory, it should escape this pigeonholing due to its quirkiness and cheek, yet it lacks mojo to pull it through. There’s a terrible ‘been there, done that, laughed at the gags’ feeling, as it is impossible not draw comparisons to Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks, or Home Alone. Perhaps more skilled direction from the Russo brothers would have saved Collinwood, but still just the imitation copy which does not pull it off. Would you splash your cash on a Danni Minogue thong? No, I thought not.
ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003

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