Pulling off a comedy can be as tricky as a heist. And in "Welcome To Collinwood", the simplest of heists goes spectacularly awry.
Fortunately, the comic actors in this charming caper are more adept than their bungling characters.
A remake of highly-regarded comedy "Persons Unknown" (aka "Big Deal on Madonna Street"), it will no doubt send cineastes scurrying away muttering, "It was better in Italian.". But stuff 'em, this is a lot of fun.
Central to its success is Sam Rockwell, who delivers a superb performance. That he has to play moron, romantic lead, and hero points to the script's uneven tone, but he does each so well, it's hard to care.
He's Pero, an amateur boxer who's whiling away his life in Collinwood (according to graffiti, "the Beirut of Cleveland"), when he stumbles upon a lucrative score.
All he has to do is break into a pawnshop - but through loose mouths and looser minds, he ends up teamed with a gang of blundering idiots, including William H Macy's hapless single father and Michael Jeter's gummy vagrant. And even this plan isn't that foolproof.
The pleasure here is not in plot, but people - and the lived-in faces of the character actors who embody them. Macy is his reliable self, and Jeter is wonderful, wandering about like a decrepit Stan Laurel after a heavy night on the sauce.
Anyone who saw "Palookaville" will be familiar with the blend of wordplay and slapstick on offer, and there are also moments of surprising pathos. These jar rather than gel, but the erratic tone is compensated for by copious bellylaughs and the sight of producer George Clooney, cameoing as a tattooed safecracker disguised as a Hasidic jew.
Enjoyably dumb, sweet, and intermittently hilarious - if you've a taste for the quirky, steal a glimpse.