You just don't steal from the Chairman of the Board
The movie, directed by Ron Underwood (City Slickers) follows the plot from beginning to end, sticking mainly with Keenan and his guys, as they prepare for the kidnapping, carry it out and then deal with the consequences. Things don't exactly go smoothly, as one might expect of a plan hatched by a madman, and the emotions and consciences of the men involved become stumbling blocks along the way. Keenan is the kind of leader a gang doesn't need, as he keeps his crew in the dark, or flat out lies to them. As a result, the doubts they have become harder and harder to ignore. But somehow, Keenan keeps it together, more out of luck than anything else.
Arquette turns in what is now a stereotypical performance for him, as a wacky and deranged, yet likable guy. There's nothing wrong with his performance, as it is exactly what was needed for the film, but it seems like he's playing himself, the wacky Arquette he's played in just about every movie he's been in. As Keenan's fisherman friend, Ryan Browning is a decent enough sidekick, but when he has to compete with Macy, the third part of the criminal trio, he may as well be an extra in the film. Macy takes a character who is basically just a good guy grabbing for the brass ring and turns him into a tragic hero of sorts, as the voice of reason in the crew. His every line just grabs attention as if it were written by the Bard or perhaps William Goldsman, thanks to his natural talent. Casting him was a coup for a movie of this scope and budget.
Keenan and his guys really didn't have an expectations going into the film, as most people never knew they existed, no less what they looked or sounded like. Now, Frank Sinatra and his son are a much different story. Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie) plays the stolen singer with the proper amount of nervousness and lack of confidence, while veteran character actor James Russo gives his Sinatra the proper amount of imitation without slipping into Phil Hartman territory. He may be Ol' Blue Eyes, but he's got the heart of a man who is a father when he's not behind a microphone or in front of a character.
There's another actor worth noting, but not for what he brings, but for what he isn't allowed to bring, and that's "Tracey Ullman Show" alumnus Sam McMurray, who plays one of the FBI agents working the kidnapping. His part is very small, and not nearly enough of a role for a comic of his ability. It's been a while since he's had a chance to really cut loose, which is extremely unfortunate for a comedy like this, which could have used someone with his timing to break past the subtle comedy into something more hilarious.
There are two soundtracks included, English 2.0 being the default, and 5.1 the other. If anyone can point out the difference, they deserve a job as a really important audio guy. I couldn't spot much of anything in the way of surround activity, as the entire film seems grounded in the center channel, with the exception of some source songs that get boosts in the rear speakers. Perhaps there was an authoring error. Either way, the audio on the two included tracks is without distortion, and sounds appropriate. Just don't expect anything better than you might get on the usual Showtime broadcast.
A gag reel is included, though its not a laugh riot. If you're a huge fan of Macy and wanted to see more of him than ever before though, this is your chance. Text filmographies for the main players go with rather pointless four-pictures-to-a-screen photo galleries to fill out the Sinatra content. Also found on this disc are previews for three Showtime productions, "The L Word," Jack and Manhood. Oddly, all three are gay themed, which doesn't connect with the feature.
The Bottom Line