Take a quarter cup of ‘Moonlighting’, sprinkle in a dash of ‘The Usual Suspects’, fold in a little ‘Rain Man’, sauté it in a vat of ‘The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County’ then set your oven to mass hysteria and when you open the oven you will have a heaping pile of ‘Flypaper’. Heaping piles, generally speaking, usually aren’t all that tasty. We’re only speaking generally here.
Tripp (Patrick Dempsey), a heavily mediated obsessive compulsive is at the bank this fine day to acquire his exact collection of nickels of something. He’s being tended to by Katie the bank teller (Ashley Judd) as the two engage in the special kind of witty repartee that only takes place in the movies. Seems that Katie is getting married soon as Tripp has cleverly deduced with his Sherlockian powers of deduction, and he’s of the opinion that Katie might be better off with him. An overly medicated cat with a debilitating mental illness and no job that I can tell. I’m told he’s good looking so… you know… love can conquer all.
Then, without warning, the bank is besieged by bank robbers. Ah… but not just one team of bank robbers, because most heist flicks have that, but we have two teams of bank robbers. We have the hick duo of Billy Ray (Tim Blake Nelson) and Wyatt (Pruitt Taylor Vince) who go by the codenames Peanut butter and Jelly and are here to blow up some ATM’s. On the other end of the spectrum we the high tech super organized squad which consists of Darrien the Black Guy (Mekhi Phifer), Weinstein (Max Ventimiglia) the Jewish Guy and Gates (Matt Ryan) the British Guy who are here to blow the safe.
Obviously you can see mayhem and hijinx just beginning to brew, right? So there’s a quick shootout between these two bank robbing squads leaving one man dead, but which team killed this guy? And what if this dead guy in the middle of the bank floor wasn’t killed by accident? Tripp has already deduced all of this. Eventually the bank robbers come to an agreement, this being the low tech dudes get the ATM’s, the high tech dudes attack the vault, with the remaining bank employees and Tripp serving as hostages. Tripp had to help them figure this out as well.
The thing is everything isn’t quite what it seems as the conspiracy is running deep in this one. Especially when certain people amongst the bank robbers and the hostages start turning up dead and stuff. Looks like the number one bank robber… there’s a bank robbing website that ranks the worlds bank robbers… might be setting a series of events in motion to fix a little problem he has, and damn if that number one bank robber is locked in the bank with everybody else as either a hostage or one of the other bank robbers. Oh my.
Will Tripp be able to figure this out and find love with the pretty teller about to be married, or maybe Tripp is the guy setting all of this in motion. Or maybe it’s the pretty teller. Actually it’s not that hard to figure out who it is, but we won’t spoil it for you.
I guess it could be debated, I doubt it but I guess we could debate it, but ‘Flypaper’ is one big ol’ convoluted mess of a movie. It has characters falling off the walls, it has so much plot that there’s almost no plot, director Rob Minkoff tosses stimuli at his audience from every possible angle and from every conceivable direction, it’s unwieldy, borderline incoherent, unnecessarily profane… but in the final analysis I guess it wasn’t all that bad.
Now we’re not saying that we’d want to sit through ‘Flypaper’ again, the character of Tripp explained the title to us at some point in the movie but I forgot what he said as it got lost amidst the chaos of it all, but it is actually kind of a fun movie to watch. For starters, despite all the killing and mayhem, nobody in the cast seemed to be taking this movie all that serious, focusing more on the comedic aspects of mass murder as opposed to the negative elements that are usually associated with mass murder. Patrick Dempsey in particular gave a winningly manic performance as the King of Deduction, and truth be told all of the cast members seemed to just be rolling along with this nonsense, enjoying it for the insanity it was. Except maybe Ashley Judd. Not that she was terrible in this movie or anything, she didn’t get a lot to do and paired next to Patrick Dempsey who was three levels over the top, Ms. Judd’s benign disinterest didn’t really fit in.
Sure, we wouldn’t of minded too much if screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore had dialed it down a bit… just a bit… which would’ve made for a better, less stupid movie, and it is a mess… no denying that… but if you don’t try to take it all too serious, and why would you want to do that anyway, ‘Flypaper’ just might turn out to be a pleasant diversion.