Criminal Ways (DVD Review)25 Sep, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Prebook 9/29/09; Street 10/27/09
Stars Isla Fisher, Nick Giannopoulos, Russell Dystra, Lena Cruz.
Australian comic (with Greek parents) Nick Giannopoulos (who makes his directorial bow in this uneven 2003 comedy) stars as Danny, an untalented, unemployed actor who makes ends meet teaching geriatrics dance classes while perennially stuck in the 1980s, replete with Flashdance wardrobe.
Still troubled by the childhood trauma of being voted off a TV talent show, Danny soon gets a job offer from a motley group of thugs that wants him to teach them a comedy act for an upcoming children’s birthday party at the home of a wealthy businessman.
Danny, of course, has no idea that the trio’s real intention is to steal a $3 million necklace. Convinced the thugs have no talent (which they don’t), Danny is nonetheless persuaded by the leader’s sexy sister Kirsty (eye-candy Isla Fisher from Confessions of a Shopaholic) to reconsider.
What ensue are entertaining scenes of the comic trying to induce even the slightest talent from the petty thieves, notably Adrian (Costas Kilias).
Giannopoulos, who’s made a career out of re-inventing his successful ethnic touring comedy show, “Wogs Out of Work,” delivers notable moments (even without Fisher), including a catchy musical jingle or two, interlaced with guttural humor and profanity.
When Danny asks Kirsty’s young son why he isn’t allowed to talk to him, the boy replies that he’s been warned about “strange men” with a big “throbbing schlong.”
While the movie’s farfetched premise, choppy pacing and editing (Fisher all but disappears throughout the middle of the story) will cause some viewers hit the eject button, Danny’s naïve charm gives Criminal Ways an element of fun.