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The beginning is a little shaky. In a strained and prolonged gag, Anthony (Luke Wilson) agrees to go along with a scheme of his friend Dignan (Luke's brother Owen) to escape from a mental hospital by climbing down bedsheets from his window (the joke is that his psychiatrist has just signed him out and now watches this stunt with weary patience). Dignan, it seems, is a man of big, illegal plans. He has a 50-year schedule set up for himself, Anthony, and Bob (Robert Musgrave), their dim but rich collaborator, that begins with their robbing Anthony's own home and culminates with their teaming up with Mr. Henry (James Caan as a low-rent and more physically menacing Christopher Walken).
The result is a series of earnest and absurd debacles. The high point of the movie is a hilarious safe heist that ends up carried out by the boys dressed in goofy yellow jumpsuits assisted by "veteran" crewmen with names like Applejack and Kumar. With its low-key and note-perfect performances, with the filmmaker's keen eye and ear for the zany and apt detail, and with Anderson's surprisingly sophisticated visual and narrative style (think of Antonioni crossed with Woody Allen of the Take the Money and Run period), Bottle Rocket is a blast. At the Copley Place, the Kendall Square, and the West Newton and in the suburbs.
-- Peter Keough