'A Bag of Hammers'
(Jason Ritter, Jake Sandvig and Chandler Canterbury, et al / NR / 93 mins / MPI Films)
Overview: A comedy about two misfit best friends incapable of growing up, whose direction is tested by an abandoned child, worn beyond his years; together they invent the family they've always needed.
Verdict: With a tagline such as 'A comedy about good times and grand theft,' I actually expected the film to me more, well, hardcore. But instead what I got for an hour and a half was a very well told, sincere story that not only made you think about how you yourself act in life (to others), but left you with a sense that it had been ninety minutes well spent in the celluloid company of others.
From the off we see how our two lead characters - Jason Ritter and Jake Sandvig - make their socalled 'living' - by acting as a valet service at funerals and stealing the nicest cars instantly! Getting $7,000 cash for one from their in-on-it garage owning buddy, to my mind why would they do it again for the longest time. But, film doesn't work like that and they get to do another car later that afternoon - and thereafter over and over.
Wondering aloud when their lives would change, or if they really wanted them to, one day the house next to them that they own/rent out has a death occur - leaving them wanting to take care of the 12 year-old boy (Chandler Canterbury - 'Fringe') inside. Not that, by law, it is their job or even legal, but this is what they were looking for - a change of pace, a change of direction. It doesn't last long as Rebecca Hall ('The Town') who plays the sister of one of the guys rats them out to Social Services - and, let's be frank, deservedly so!
A weird sub plot is the always-off relationship with Ritter and his ex, played in a startling brilliantly-alive cameo by Amanda Seyfried. But don't let that confuse you or sway you from taking in the bigger picture here. I mean sure, one looks like a young Peter Tork, the other a younger Jim Carrey, but this film needs to be taken seriously - as it is truly heartfelt.
The weird title of the film is revealed halfway through and suddenly (kinda, for the most part) makes sense - given the subject matter to hand. But the actual ending sequence will probably have you shaking your head wondering why they did such a 'cheap' move. Sadly, it detracts from the whole film, but I'm sure there's people out there that embraced the ending they chose to run with - and maybe you'll be one of them.