Parents' Guide to

The Con Is On

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Tiresome caper with language, sex, drugs, and drinking.

Movie R 2018 90 minutes
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The stylish and over-the-top comedy caper The Con Is On should work, and yet it doesn't. There's an all-star cast, a "Sure, why not?" kind of premise that sounds like it will be a fun ride for the viewer, and seemingly endless possibilities for comedy. And yet, nothing seems to land. The main characters have the rough glamour of characters from the Oceans franchise, and the caustic snark of Guy Ritchie movies, but they're not entertaining. The exaggeration grows tiresome shortly after a nun in the opening scene uses the f-word before sampling the contents of a cocaine delivery. Tim Roth plays a cynical and misanthropic binge-drinking British con man who, spoiler alert, isn't a fan of Los Angeles, California. Fair enough, but at least be somewhat original in the observations, rather than resorting to the same old cliches.

Everything is so ridiculous, obnoxious, and run into the ground, it becomes more exhausting than amusing. It's like the filmmakers really, really, really want you to know that these characters aren't supposed to be likable. And if Sofia Vergara's character's constant foul-mouthed expressions of sexual desire for Crispin Glover's character almost gets a laugh the first three times they're spoken, it's a premise that's beyond tedious after the 24th time. That is but one example. If there's any potential to find comedy out of overblown amoral behavior, The Con Is On will milk it for all its worth. It's a frustrating and disappointing watch because the parts never add up to a worthwhile whole.

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