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USA 2002
Directed by
Anthony Russ / Joe Russo
86 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Welcome To Collinwood

The Russo brothers got their lucky break when Steven Soderbergh attended a screening of their short film, Pieces. He called them soon after and, along with George Clooney, informed the brothers that he wanted to produce their next project.

The result is a remake of a 1958 Italian crime comedy Big Deal on Madonna Street.  From Mario Zampi’s Too Many Crooks to Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks the set-up of a bunch of bungling criminal has proven to be a steady source of film comedy and Welcome To Collinwood is a nice addition to the catalogue, consistently amusing without being forced.

When petty thief Cosimo (Luis Guzman) is thrown in jail charged with grand theft auto, he gets his lucky break when the lifer who shares his cell tells him about a big score The only problem is that Cosimo needs someone to take the rap for the crime so that he can do the job. He ropes his girlfriend Rosalind (Patricia Clarkson) in, agreeing to marry her if she will find a patsy. She finds five but they'd all rather have a piece of the action instead.

It’s a modest but enjoyable film with a well-crafted script that brings together a droll group of hapless losers, brought to life by the kind of cast that the names of Soderbergh and Clooney can deliver. Sam Rockwell has the main role as a not-very-good boxer and he is supported by William H. Macy, Isiah Washington, Michael  Jeter and Andrew Davoli in addition to Guzman and Clarkson. George Clooney appears in a minor role as a heavily tattooed  safe cracker. Perhaps a little too insubstantial for the big screen, Welcome To Collinwood is perfect as a rental when you want a pleasant distraction.

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