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Welcome To Collinwood (2002)

Somewhere in Cleveland . . .

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 86 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

“Welcome to Collinwood” is a bit of a cheat really. Firstly, though it makes a good attempt at passing itself off as highly original, it's basically a remake of the 1958 Italian caper “Big Deal on Madonna Street”. Secondly, don't pay any attention to those misleading posters – George Clooney's barely in it.

Much like this year's “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, Clooney's involvement is a handy ploy to bring Joe Punter in off the street for what is essentially a Sam Rockwell movie. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Rockwell's a fine, likeable actor who gives the impression of enjoying every minute of his fun-packed performance as amateur boxer Pero.

Pero and his soap-dodging buddies – all of whom are finding life pretty tough on the streets of dead-end dive Collinwood – embark upon a seemingly fool-proof heist, helped briefly by wheelchair-bound safe-cracking expert Jerzy (Clooney). Even the idea for the heist itself is stolen, with Pero having conned the details out of jailbird car thief Cosimo (Luis Guzman) during an extremely short stint in prison.

What follows is an overly-quirky, yet at times hilarious, attempt to get rich quick by this hapless band of crooks. What they're doing is clearly wrong, but they're all so rubbish at it that you find yourself rooting for them – particularly stony broke dad-of-one Riley (William H. Macy) who's only after $1000 to get his wife out of jail.

Fans of the Cohen Brothers will no doubt lap up this debut outing from Anthony and Joe Russo, though it's perhaps a bit too far off-centre to appeal to mainstream tastes. At the very least, though, you're guaranteed some laugh-out-loud moments – that in itself makes “Welcome to Collinwood” well worth taking a look at.

It's Got: Some great acting, but a slightly irritating soundtrack.

It Needs: A little less of the extremely obscure jargon – "Bellini", anyone??


An enjoyable romp, although it occasionally gives off the impression of trying a little too hard.