Goofy but Not Dark
Having been a successful businessman Barry Keenan (David Arquette) found himself on hard times and desperate for money. It was how he came up with the idea of kidnapping Frank Sinatra Jr. (Thomas Ian Nicholas) with the help of friends Johnny Irwin (William H. Macy) and Joe Amsler (Ryan Browning) and holding him to ransom. But none of these friends really knew what they were doing and that can only mean one thing, trouble.
I should think there are quite a few people who have never heard the story of the 1963 kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. and frankly it sounds far fetched. But far fetched stories can make for good movies especially those involving a crime involving those with no idea of what they are doing. Unfortunately whilst the true story has the potential to be a dark comedy "Stealing Sinatra" ends up a wasted opportunity.
Now "Stealing Sinatra" ticks a lot of boxes, the look is absolutely fantastic and when you combine it with the period soundtrack it has the look and the sounds. It also features a good cast with William H. Macy delivering a stand out performances as Johnny Irwin who is very serious and commanding as the senior member of the gang. And it has a certain quirky tone to it, moments of humour which tick the box for dark comedy.
The trouble is that whilst "Stealing Sinatra" ticks all these boxes it ends up lacking one thing which if you like is energy. Everything plays out in front of your eyes at a constant pace but it never sparks and never gets you involved. It is what the best dark comedies have and without this key element "Stealing Sinatra" just never fully gets you gripped by these inept criminals kidnapping Sinatra Jr. and so ends up coming across as a dry dramatization of the true story.
What this all boils down to is that "Stealing Sinatra" is entertaining but I can't help but think it could have been so much greater by being more dark and offbeat.