Life of Crime

Rated: R

        I’d like to tell you about a little known Jennifer Aniston film called Life of Crime. The funny thing about watching so many obscure movies is that the more you watch, the more you find. Life of Crime was like that. I was watching the previews before some other obscure title when I first saw the trailer for Life of Crime. What’s a little funny to me is that, for the most part, a film trailer is no different than any other commercial. They’re made to portray the product (or movie) in the best light possible in order to drag you into either buying or seeing the product. When it comes to regular old TV commercials and such I have no problem either completely ignoring them, or pointing out their marketing gimmicks (I am so happy I took that videography class in high school!) and thusly avoiding the consequence s of buying unnecessary items.

        Movie trailers are different though. I pay more attention to them and often get sucked into watching things that are terrible and boring. Not to say that every movie I’ve ever watched after seeing the trailer is terrible. If that were the case I probably wouldn’t watch anything ever.  I’m just saying that whatever the psychology behind it, I’m more easily susceptible to film trailers than regular commercials. The result being that I watch a wide variety of seemingly odd and little known films, for better or worse.  Of course, that’s good news for you because I’m here as your filter…weeding out the bad and bringing you the good.
Life of Crime’s trailer was slightly deceptive. According to what the trailer touted, it’s supposed to be a comedy about a couple of guys that kidnap a wealthy socialite named Mickey while her husband and son are out of town, in order to blackmail her husband into paying ransom for her. But when the husband decides he’d rather not pay to get her back, Mickey takes things into her own hands. Although that is the basic summary of the movie, there’s far less comedy involved than you’d think. If it were up to me I’d have labeled it a dark comedy, since the film’s dramatic undertones seem to take center stage more often than not.

        Life of Crime
wasn’t something I had planned on seeing more than once, but apparently now I have to. In doing a little research for this piece, I found on Wikipedia that Life of Crime is based on the 1978 Elmore Leonard book The Switch. In 1992 he published Rum Punch, in which Leonard revisits the characters from The Switch. Rum Punch, in 1997, was adapted into the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. And so now I’ll just have to watch them both back to back to see exactly how they interconnect, because it’s been so long since I saw Jackie Brown that I can’t for the life of me think of how they could possibly be related.
        As a prequel
Life of Crime doesn’t hold a candle to Jackie Brown. If Tarantino had written and directed it, it probably would’ve been better. Instead, little known writer/director Daniel Schechter was at the reigns, leaving us with something that while not terrible, never lives up to its full potential. Therefore, I think your best bet is to watch both Life of Crime and Jackie Brown in one sitting. That way the little bit of an empty and unfinished feeling you’ll have when Life of Crime is done will be wiped away with the more entertaining and complete Jackie Brown.

        Life of Crime is rated R, was written and directed by Daniel Schechter and stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Mos Def, Ilsa Fisher, Tim Robbins and Will Forte. Its available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.