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Ordinary Decent Criminal


Ordinary Decent Criminal

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In movies like Ordinary Decent Criminal, being part of the criminal underworld is a lot like being a rock star: Women want you, the press hounds you, men want to be you, you make tons of cash, you get to hang out with your colorful friends, and the powers-that-be can't stand you. The latest in a long line of emotionally stunted Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino-derived crime movies whose philosophy can be succinctly described as "Crime is cool," Ordinary Decent Criminal stars Kevin Spacey as an irascible gentleman bank robber in Dublin. As notorious for his elaborate displays of courthouse kookiness as for his crimes–in one sadly indicative scene, he mugs shamelessly for reporters before mooning them–Spacey leads a seemingly charmed existence, with a loyal gang at his beck and call, and a home life that encompasses a beaming harem of two (sisters Linda Fiorentino and Helen Baxendale). A chance visit to an art museum changes all that, however, as Spacey hits upon the idea of stealing a valuable Caravaggio painting, a heist that threatens to tear his gang apart. Ordinary Decent Criminal is based on a true story, but Spacey gives his character the outsized dimensions of an adolescent fantasy figure: He's Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and Catch Me If You Can's Frank Abagnale Jr., all wrapped up in Spacey's superstar smirk. A better movie might explore the tricky dynamics of having concomitant romantic relationships with two sisters, but Criminal isn't interested in understanding Spacey's life: It's primarily interested in celebrating it, with the gee-whiz boosterism of a men's magazine covering a party at the Playboy Mansion. Spacey has the versatility and magnetism to be the next Jack Nicholson or Jack Lemmon. In terms of post-American Beauty career choices, however, he's following in the less auspicious footsteps of fellow Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.