Here we have a bittersweet little character study masquerading as a caper flick. There are, as you would expect, a few plot twists, none terribly surprising, but handled with a surprising, unaffected charm considering the downbeat nature of the story.
Our hero is one Victor Kelly, played by an astonishingly low key Christopher Walken. Hes a sad sack ex-safecracker tryingt to keep to the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, he’s not even scraping by with his failing garage business, an aunt in a pricey nursing home, and creditors coming from all sides with checks hes written that have bounced higher than the Empire State Buiding in nearby Manhattan. A string of even worse luck than usual hits and Vic decides that the straight life just aint working out for him. Hes soon embroiled in a homespun heist that could solve all his money problems if he can avoid getting caught. Doing wrong, as it were, to do right by the people counting on him. Complicating matters, maybe, is a hitherto unknown cousin from Ireland (Peter McDonald, looking like nothing so much as a wounded puppy) and who is just shy of being trustworthy.
Walken is, as usual, enormously charismatic on screen, even here where writer/director Myles Connell has kept him virtually inert as the good guy of the piece. Theres just no keeping that quirky inner child down and its interesting to watch him without the usual mannerisms. Cindy Lauper, cast as his tough, pragmatic girlfriend with a creamy nougat center, is similarly low keyhair restricted to two colors, blond with dark roots, and normal makeup. What comes through is how charismatic she can be, too. Shes not in Walkens league as far as presence goes, but she can hold her own with a twinkle in her eye that lets you know that there are layers of eccentricity barely concealed beneath this almost bland veneer.
One thing this film has going for it is a peculiar moral center. Like Vic, its got criminal impulses and a straight-arrow conscience. If the film is a little too rambling, if the story is less than edge-of-your-seat fare, its still got its moments. The characters, particularly a small-time safecracker played by Tom Noonan, are offbeat without overreaching into self-parody, and there are oddball moments that please, such as the robbery being plotted at a Little League game that one of the would-be thieves is coaching. On the whole, it’s a comfortable and sometimes comforting film, if not exactly a revelation.