Blu-ray Review: The Con Is On

By , Contributor
The treacherous waters of direct-to-video releases these days are marked by an extremely divergent range of quality. The bait for consumers is obvious: many A-list movie stars routinely pop up in these films. Those of us who remember the DTV days of old know that the biggest names were usually last names: Don Swayze (Patrick's brother), Frank Stallone (Sly's brother), Renée or Ramon Estevez (Emilio and Charlie's siblings), and others capitalizing on their family members' fame.

But these days some of the very biggest names in Hollywood pop up in movies that bypassed theaters. Take The Con Is On for example. This film stars Academy Award-nominee Uma Thurman, Academy Award-nominee Tim Roth, and multiple Emmy-nominee Sofia Vergara. Available on Blu-ray (standard DVD, too) July 24 from Lionsgate, the cast also includes '90s indie queen Parker Posey (The House of Yes), Maggie Q (The Divergent Series, TV's Designated Survivor), veteran British comedian and actor Stephen Fry (Golden Globe-nominated for Wilde), Alice Eve, and the inimitable Crispin Glover.

Sold yet? Many people will be, given that array of talent. Unfortunately it's all largely wasted on a convoluted caper plot that will try the patience of even the most forgiving viewers. Thurman and Roth play married con artists Harriet and Peter, who embark on a big jewel heist to pay debts to their boss Irina (Maggie Q). Farcical situations ensue as the couple steals from Peter's ex-wife Jackie (Eve). Director James Oakley delivers a real mess here, epitomized by the spectacle of the talented Vergara reduced to nothing more than shouting profanity at the top of her lungs.

The Con Is On was shot back in 2015 as The Brits Are Coming, so it has been sitting around for awhile. I gave it a spin because I like so many of the people in the great cast. But even at a brisk 90 minutes, this one should've stayed on the shelf.

 
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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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