Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Keanu Reeves is as blank as ever in Henry’s Crime, a quasi-comic heist flick from Malcolm Venville, director of last year’s significantly better quasi-comic heist flick 44 Inch Chest. Reeves plays Henry, a Buffalo, N.Y., toll-booth operator who’s tricked into being the getaway driver for his friends’ bank holdup. He gets three years in prison; six months into his sentence, his wife (Judy Greer) tells him she’s fallen in love with someone else. “Oh,” Henry says. “I’m really sorry,” she continues. “It’s all right,” Henry replies with zero emotion. Um, it is?
Support City Paper!
Reeves similarly sleepwalks through the rest of the film, whose absurd storyline is matched by its absurd casting: James Caan and Vera Farmiga head-scratchingly join Reeves and Greer (who plays it serious and is in the movie all of five minutes) in this travesty, with only the ladies keeping their pride in tact. Caan plays Henry’s daffy cellmate Max, who on the first day they meet prattles on about making the right choices and the importance of pursuing your dream. (One year—one year!—later, Henry says to Max, “You know, you never did tell me what your dream was,” as if they’d had the first conversation just the other day.)
Anyway, Max likes prison and routinely torpedoes his parole hearings so he can stay in the pen. But when Henry is freed, he asks that Max reconsider so he can help him out. You see, Henry discovers there’s an old tunnel between the bank he was alleged to have helped rob and a theater across the street. Julie (Farmiga), who’d hit Henry with her car, happens to be an actress in a production at the theater, which Henry discovers when he wanders in one day. Sparks supposedly fly, which will be helpful in gaining better access to the theater so Henry can rob the bank for real. It’s all very convenient.
But not as convenient as subsequent turns of events, which are so ludicrous it makes Reeves’ wooden acting the least of the film’s issues. Let’s just say Henry ends up with a role in the play (!), and apparently no one involved with the theater can hear a wall being knocked down. Other people want in on the caper and blackmail is eventually a concern. But that’s what happens when you casually tell people you’ve just met that you’re about to rob a bank, you know?
Buffalo, of course, is represented by snow, and the chill extends to Reeves and Farmiga’s allegedly hot couple. Not even an actress as talented and interesting as Farmiga can convince when there’s not one reason Julie (who’s a bit high-strung and irritating herself) would fall for this insipid doof of a man. Caan, meanwhile, is alternately quick-thinking and batty, which also doesn’t make a lick of sense. The real crime here is that this film was made at all.