A scene from 'Welcome to Collinwood'
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**1/2 stars
86 minutes | Rated: R
Limited: Friday, October 18, 2002

Written & directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Luis Guzman, Patricia Clarkson, Andrew Davoli, George Clooney, Jennifer Esposito, Gabrielle Union

Read our interviews with... William H. Macy (2001)
George Clooney (1998)


A midly entertaining rental. Good company for afternoon chores, but not worth your undivided attention.


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Talented cast amuses mostly itself in middling heist caper 'Welcome to Collinwood'

By Rob Blackwelder

The entire, very talented cast of the caper comedy "Welcome to Collinwood" is clearly having a good time playing criminal washouts who know more about their own local-crook jargon than they do about breaking and entering. But you get the feeling watching it that having a good time took precedence over making anything more than an insubstantial romp designed to entertain themselves.

Amusing but otherwise forgettable, the flick stars Luis Guzman (also in this week's "Punch-Drunk Love") as an imprisoned petty thief who hears about a supposed dream heist opportunity from a lifer he's serving time with and says to himself, "This could be my Belini!" But he needs a Melinski to take the fall and someone who can pull a Krasner at the Shylock's office they'll break into, so the job doesn't turn into a real kaputchnick.

But in the process of trying to line up a patsy, his girlfriend on the outside (Patricia Clarkson) ends up with half a dozen hapless partners instead -- including a hopelessly amateur boxer (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed photographer (William H. Macy) who carts his infant son everywhere he goes because his can't afford his wife's bail, a frail old thief (Michael Jeter) who can't complete a sentence without pausing for breath, a dubiously "expert" safe-cracker in a wheelchair (George Clooney) who is a little cracked himself, and a couple more small-time hustlers (Isaiah Washington and Andrew Davoli). With stars such as these employing the cheeky comic instincts they've honed, often together, in flicks by David Mamet and/or Steven Soderbergh (who produced this picture with Clooney), the frivolity is contagious, even if the plot and the gags are, more often than not, obvious, broad and overused.

Written and directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who set the film in a vividly run-down industrial neighborhood in 1980s Cleveland, "Collinwood" is largely composed of stage-y set pieces in which the actors can go wild with nyuck-nyucks, culminating in a break-in that has become complicated by zany unforeseen circumstances.

Underwear gags, accidental explosions, break-in tunnels drilled into active plumbing and "what are you gonna do with your share?" scenes are the order of the day, and they provide some laughs. But not $8 or $9 worth. Not when "Welcome to Collinwood" will be on cable in six months or so. You won't be missing anything if you wait until then.


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