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By Adele Marley | Posted

Charm City homeslice Barry Levinson's latest is a likeable but somewhat flat romantic comedy. Stoic, stringy-haired convict Joe (Bruce Willis) and his prison pal, erudite fuss-pot Terry (Billy Bob Thornton), jack a cement truck and bust out of the joint to satisfy their craving for cheeseburgers. They return to a life of crime pronto, immediately concocting a gimmicky, bloodshed-free way to pull off bank heists (the press affixes them with the ultra-cute, headline-ready moniker "the Sleepover Bandits"). But their cushy gig is threatened by the intrusion of kooky, adventure-hungry runaway housewife Kate (Cate Blanchett), who not only comes between them, but generates a lot of unwanted publicity besides when it's mistakenly assumed she's a hostage. Bandits doesn't have the most original script in the world--it's kind of cross between Bonnie and Clyde (without the violence and social relevance) and Jules and Jim (without the subtitles). And Kate's insistence that she can't choose between the two crooks because "together, [they're] the perfect man," is a real eyeball-roller and kind of sexist besides. But the charisma of stars Willis, Thornton, and Blanchett, playing characters not entirely unlike themselves, is tough to resist.

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