Time to spit out a blurb about this one. Where to begin? Henry's Crime might be the kind of thing Keanu would've made between Matrix sequels. Or maybe it's too indie for that, who knows. But like John Cusack, Keanu's approaching 50 and he can't play the Bill and Ted parts forever. Still, something about the plight of the Henry in this movie that makes me lose faith in humanity. Are our lives really that empty?
Take Henry's sad case study, for example. He's married to a pleasant enough girl: devoted, a good cook, and she wants a baby. Or is that ... but she wants a baby? Trapped in the non-exciting, anti-Speed life of a toll booth attendant, his only excitement comes in the form of Fisher Stevens, apparently his old high school bully. Spoiler alert: Keanu gets arrested for driving a car that morphs into a getaway car. He doesn't rat out his friends, and he gladly serves jail time for his part in the crime. Think Let's Go to Prison as a comedy. If you can get past this conceit, well... you're in for more of this movie, let's put it that way.
While in prison, Keanu bonds with cellmate James Caan. After Keanu's released, he goes to visit Caan, and provides a twist on the scene in Thief where Willie Nelson tells Caan to get him out of prison. Keanu tells Caan that he has to get out of prison, despite Caan's time honored ritual of freaking out his parole board.
At some point, Keanu reveals his life decision to Caan: since he was charged with robbing the bank, it's time to actually rob it. A crew is formed in a novel way, hopefully.
Now, for the best conceit of all... the bank is next door to a theater. There's an old tunnel between the theater and the bank. (Tyler Perry's The Ladykillers, anyone?) They need an inside man to act in the big Chekhov play being put on in the theater. Why not Keanu? Why not, some of you haters out there might be asking. Oh, don't you lie to me! I know you're out there in the dark, hating on my man Keanu here. Some of you call him the worst actor of his generation, or of any generation, for that matter. But he was forged in the fires of Lebanon, my friends. That's gotta be worth something! And he burned his way to the national stage with the help of such films as Bill and Ted, Point Break, and others, I'm sure. Is this not his chance to prove to the world that he can act on a stage?
As much as I hate to critique the play within the movie... I guess he nails it? While he sidesteps the problem of a Russian accent by not doing one, he seems to hit the proper accents... at least, as well as he can. And as one of my viewing companions pointed out, he improves his love life going from Judy Greer to Vera Farmiga, does he not? As in Up in the Air, Vera once again proves she's one of the boys, and a damn decent stage actress within the movie to boot. I enjoyed Fisher Stevens' just desserts probably a little more than I should have. I probably had some other brilliant points to make, but ultimately, this was about 1.75 hours of my life I will cherish forever. Oh yeah, and ... spoiler alert... there's yet another CGI car crash here where a car appears out of nowhere, knocking somebody well out of frame. Scary Movie 3 had a couple, Kick-Ass had one, Ghost Town starts with one, there's that Stephen King thing with Pierce Brosnan where his wife gets hit by a bus, that's a dramatic example... ooh! Scary Movie 4 had at least one! I don't know, I didn't see the whole thing. I gotta go. Bedtime.
p.s. If you can find that Spy Magazine article about the curse of movies with Henry in the title... well, I don't have extra funds for a contest lying around. Needles to say, this movie might well be added to that list.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan