| This globe-trotting romantic comedy is like going on a scavenger hunt where the fun is in the journey.
Mark Ruffalo ("You Can Count on Me" and "13 Going on 30") and Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") play con men brothers Stephen and Bloom. Stephen is the mastermind who concocts intricate schemes that they act out with his sensitive younger brother cast in the role of the hero.
A prologue at the outset narrated by actor-magician Ricky Jay shows the sweetness in their initial foray into larceny. It is described as the perfect con, because everyone gets what they want.
The movie skips ahead 20 years with the boys now in their mid-30s pulling off another heist with the help of Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi from "Babel"), a sexy Japanese explosives expert who doesn't know more than three words of English.
Brody takes over the role of narrator. Bloom is tired of playing the roles created by Stephen and wants to quit while he's ahead of the curve. He wants to be the author of "an unwritten life" leaving his fate up to chance and free will. He takes an extended vacation in Montenegro. Stephen finds him and talks him into taking on one final job.
The unwitting mark is Penelope (Rachel Weisz from "The Constant Gardener"), an eccentric and lonely billionaire heiress. Bloom puts the whole plan at risk when he falls in love with this epileptic photographer who "collects hobbies" while living a sheltered life.
The movie takes a step-by-step approach in outlining how the elaborate shell game is put into motion. The cinematography provides a scenic travelogue of the various ports of call with Prague being the crème de la crème.
There is no use trying to make sense out of the convoluted crime, which goes off in too many unnecessary tangents. The story adds up to nothing, but it excels at teasing the audience with illusion versus reality.
Weisz is the real star of the movie with Ruffalo and Brody forming the picture frame to showcase her talent.
This quirky diversion is the brainchild of writer/director Rian Johnson ("Brick"). This sophomore effort is a good indication of a bright future ahead for him in moviemaking.
Now playing exclusively at the Glenwood Arts and AMC Studio 30.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"