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Art Heist

Columbia/Tri-Star // R // March 22, 2005
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted April 11, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

I'm sure her agent thought it was a great idea at the time, but let's cut right to it: cute as she so definitely is, Ellen Pompeo is not exactly leading-lady material. Best described as a slightly taller version of Renee Zellweger, Ms. Pompeo is best known for her strong supporting performances in movies like Moonlight Mile and Old School, and she also does some great work in the new ensemble series Grey's Anatomy. But you'd never know any of that by watching Art Heist. Not to be overtly cruel, but Ellen's performance here runs the gamut from "biblically bland" to "thoroughly unconvincing," with a 55-minute lay-over in "downright bad."

Of course it doesn't help Ms. Pompeo's case that her co-star is one of those Baldwin clones, or that she's mired in a caper flick so utterly predictable and contrived that it boggles the brain cells. Putting aside a pair of reasonably exciting chase scenes, Art Heist is as boring as a tax seminar. It's pure C-grade cable-flick filler, only one of 200 new DTV titles that you'll find littering the Blockbuster shelves every six months. (Hint: DVD cases like Art Heist have very few fingerprints on 'em.)

Pompeo plays an art expert / insurance gal who's whisked off to Barcelona when something very pricey gets stolen. It's there that she meets up with an old flame, participates in a car chase, and basically (all together now) ends up in some sort of bland espionage confection. Estranged husbands, nefarious art thieves, and a few shady cops converge on the scene, and you won't be at all surprised when you find yourself watching the DVD counter suck 90 minutes away instead of focusing on the movie.

Like any good foreign production that's desperately hoping to be mistaken for something Bruckheimerish in nature, Art Heist does wedge a few slick chase scenes into the equation. So if you're interested in spending 90-some minutes to locate perhaps 450 seconds of kinetic car-chase action, go nuts. There's certainly nothing else here to warrant a visit, unless for some satanic reason you're addicted to all things Baldwin-related. Art Heist is only slightly worth a look should you come across it on HBO one late night, and it's certainly not worthy of any sort of rental activity that involves you spending money.

But you should still keep an eye out for this Pompeo gal. So she delivered an inert performance in a pretty junky b-movie. Find me a good actor who hasn't.

The DVD

Video

We're offered a surprisingly crisp and bright Widescreen (Anamorphic) transfer, which (Pompeo's cuteness aside) is absolutely the most worthwhile thing about the DVD. But who really cares about a solid transfer of a movie this eye-gougingly boring?

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, which is really only noteworthy when there's a car (or motorcycle) chase onscreen. There's really no knocking the technical merits of this DVD; it's the movie itself that proves fairly worthless.

Extra Features

Thankfully there's not a whole lot in the extra features department (I don't know if I could stand an audio commentary on this flick). We're offered a brief photo gallery and a collection of movie trailers (Art Heist, Face of Terror, "80's Hits," Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, and Dead Birds.)

Final Thoughts

Even if you somehow end up enjoying this movie 90% more than I did, it will still evaporate from your memory banks quicker than a pothead's PIN number. We're talking 2.5 half-watchable action scenes surrounded by the ever-reliable packing materials of aimless dialogue, boring characters, and insipid bouts of rambling exposition.

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