Suited and booted, the Best Men of the title look like Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were going to rob a bank as they step out in their finest clobber. Actually they are - but only one of them knows it. On their way to a wedding, it transpires that the groom is really the Shakespeare-spouting robber known in the press as Hamlet - and his unsuspecting mates are caught up in his criminal activities. Holed-up in a bank with a bunch of hostages, and the police, FBI and media camped outside, they gradually become local heroes. But will the getaway bus they'd bargained for lead them to freedom or straight into the sights of the trigger-happy Feds?
It all sounds very Dog Day Afternoon, and a homage to the Al Pacino classic is clearly the intention of co-writers Art Edler Brown and Tracy Fraim. Director Tamra Davis also plays up cheeky nods to movies like Speed, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, even Thelma&Louise. Yet for all this, Best Men is much more that the sum of its plagiarised parts - it's a cracking action comedy full of snappy dialogue and colourful characters.
Brad Dourif (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), steals all his scenes as a bitter Vietnam vet, but everyone in the small cast shines. Dean Cain, in his first big-screen leading role, sends up his macho Superman image by playing a gay character, while Drew Barrymore is spunky good fun as the bride who turns up in full wedding regalia.
And good fun is the best way to describe this eccentric low-budget pic, which plays like a Tarantino wannabe on laughing gas. Blocks won't be busted by it, but its witty script and cunning little plot show that it's richer and more rewarding than many a bigger movie - and at 90 minutes, there's plenty of time for a pint and a laugh afterwards.
With a quick nod in homage to Dog Day After-noon, and a cluster of impressive performances from its cast, this peanuts-for-budget, action-comedy heist movie is fast, funny and as smart as the leading men's suits.
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