One has to wonder, looking at the cover box art for The Maiden Heist, whether there was any craft services table taunting on the set of the film, with Academy Award winners Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and Marcia Gay Harden teaming up to harass mere Oscar nominee William H. Macy over his honorific shortcomings and lack of little gold trophies.
A Boston-set caper comedy very loosely in the vein of the Ocean’s flicks, The Maiden Heist tells the story of a trio of art museum security guards who scheme to steal several of their favorite pieces from their workplace. Charles (Freeman), George (Macy) and Roger (Walken) are honest and
hardworking, to a man. But when they learn their favorite artworks are
set to be sent overseas to another museum, they concoct a plan to
switch out the real masterpieces with fakes. All goes well until a
mistake forces these first-time thieves into a last-minute escapade.
Consigned to a direct-to-video release after the capital problems of original bankrolling distributor Yari Film Group, The Maiden Heist is neither as bad as that fate suggests, nor a true gem that somehow just slipped through the cracks. It’s a straight-up programmer, in other words — something with which to while away the time, but not necessarily aggressively seek out. While the three male leads (most notably Macy and Walken) each impress upon the movie their own moments of inimitable delight, director Peter Hewitt (Zoom, Garfield, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey) never quite locates a streamlined tone. He isn’t abetted by Harden. I admired the actress’ Oscar-winning performance in Pollock, but have since found her to various degrees shrill and insufferable — and not always in keeping with character — in everything from Mona Lisa Smile and (gulp) Welcome to Mooseport to American Dreamz, The Mist, The Hoax and even straight-to-video fare like Sex & Lies in Sin City. Here, as Roger’s controlling, shriek-prone wife, she just about torpedoes every scene in which she appears. She makes you turn on the character, and the manner in which the story utilizes her, never a good sign in a movie.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, The Maiden Heist comes to DVD presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with an English language Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track, and optional English subtitles. Supplemental bonus material consists of an audio commentary track with Hewitt, scribe Michael LeSieur (You, Me and Dupree) and producer Rob Paris, in which the trio, in glad-handing fashion, recount the wintry difficulties of the movie’s location shoot, and share other warm, if sometimes a bit bland, anecdotes about the cast. An 18-minute making-of featurette works through some more particulars of the film, originally titled The Lonely Maiden, and includes on-set interviews with the principal talent, as well as below-the-line players. There is also a collection of a dozen deleted scenes with optional commentary, and a three-minunte blooper reel which features flubbed lines galore and Walken’s Scarface impression, if thankfully no cell phone interruptions in the middle of takes. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C (Movie) C+ (Disc)