'Life of Crime': Reviews are middling but critics praise the ensemble cast

'Life of Crime' stars John Hawkes, Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, and Isla Fisher, among others. 'Life of Crime' is an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel 'The Switch.'

Barry Wetcher/Roadside Attractions/AP
'Life of Crime' stars Jennifer Aniston (r.) and John Hawkes (l.).

The movie “Life of Crime” has received tepid reviews from critics but praise from many reviewers for its cast, which includes Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, and Isla Fisher, among others.

“Crime,” which hits theaters today, is based on the Elmore Leonard novel “The Switch” and follows two criminals (Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and Hawkes) who kidnap the wife (Aniston) of a real estate developer (Tim Robbins), only to find that the husband isn’t all that interested in paying the ransom.

Aniston said in an interview with the website HitFix that one of the things she appreciates about her character is that she grows as a result of the situation she’s in.

“The beauty of her character is when she gets with the bad guys that aren't that bright... she finds her colors and finds her strength,” she said.

Reviews for the movie in general were mixed, with New York Times critic Ben Kenigsberg writing that “as a late-summer caper movie, it hits the spot” and Catherine Shoard of the Guardian calling it a “good-natured, show-not-tell treat” but Washington Post critic Michael O’Sullivan writing, “‘Life of Crime’ feels like a rambling car ride through the countryside with friends… you keep wondering where the driver is headed.” In addition, John DeFore of the Hollywood Reporter found it to “start… promisingly and ends with a smile but underwhelms in between.”

However, many reviewers were impressed by the ensemble cast of the movie, which also includes Will Forte and Mark Boone Junior. Shoard writes that “the performances… are top-notch, Aniston reminding us of the deft comic timing which first so endeared her; Hawkes a surprisingly convincing male lead, Mos Def as charming as ever,” while Andrew O’Hehir of Salon called the cast “delightful” and DeFore wrote that “Bey and Hawkes have fine chemistry,” though DeFore noted that “the script doesn’t give them much to work with.” 

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