When is Hollywood going to learn that a film doesn't have to be two hours long? Because if you cut 20 minutes off Barry Levinson's "Bandits", then this would be a tight, funny, and very enjoyable comedy.
As it happens, it's still funny, but the flabby bits in-between the comic set-pieces and character-driven scenes are, quite frankly, an annoyance. Which is a real shame, because the movie has a very simple and very clever premise.
Joe (Willis) and Terry (Thornton) are bank robbers who escape from prison and devise the perfect looting routine. They'll go to the houses of smalltown bank managers, hold them hostage overnight, and then head down to the bank before opening time, managers in tow, to raid the safe.
They enlist the help of getaway driver and wannabe stuntman Harvey (Garity), and soon their seemingly fail-safe routine makes them front page news, pursued by sensationalist TV reporter Darren Head (Slayton).
Things get more complicated, though, when Terry literally runs into Kate (Blanchett), an unhappy wife whose feminine wiles threaten to ruin the personal and professional relationship of the two lovable rogues.
Blanchett ("The Gift") and Thornton ("The Man Who Wasn't There") are a real find as comedians - the former unhinged, though undeniably sexy; the latter a neurotic, chattering mess. Bruce Willis is, well, Bruce Willis. When any combination of the trio are together, the movie's a riot; Garity (the son of Jane Fonda) also makes a good impression as their dim-witted sidekick.
If only director Levinson could have been a little less self-indulgent.