A Bad Idea Gone Wrong: A Heist Comedy

Eleanore Pienta, Will Rogers, and Matt Jones in A Bad Idea Gone Wrong.

A Bad Idea Gone Wrong offers Matt Jones the chance to show what he can do in a feature film as a major supporting player.

The film marks the feature film directorial debut for writer/director Jason Headley.  It went on to take the Grand Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast for a Narrative Feature at the SXSW Film Festival.  As feature debuts go, this one is pretty solid.  Headley works with a very minimal cast that mostly consists of Matt Jones, Will Rogers, and Eleanore Pienta.  Sam Eidson, Jonny Mars, Jennymarie Jemison, and John Merriman round out the cast.

Leo (Will Rogers) has broken up with his ex-fiance, Jessica, and she gets married without as much as bothering to return the ring.  As such, he wants to break into her home get the ring back–as he should.  Marlon Jackson (Jones) goes with him to her house although a few tricks are needed to get into the gated neighborhood.  The comedy really starts when they mistakenly arm the unarmed alarm.  It gets worse when they discover that a house sitter, Darcy (Pienta), is living in the house while Jessica and her husband are away.

Believed to be the house sitter, they decide to hold Darcy hostage while they find the ring and get the alarm code.  If only it were so simple–and this is where it is wished for more indie comedies to be made with the kind of comedy tone offered in Headley’s feature debut.  They don’t play it for zany laughs but they don’t lean on the overly dramatic either.

Jones, best known for playing Badger on Breaking Bad, gets a substantial amount of material to work with and this results in one of his strongest performances to date.  Rogers, who portrayed Frederic Pryor in Bridge of Spies, also proves that he can lead a film.  As the kidnapped Darcy, Pienta does more than hold her own against the other two.  It’s her film as much as it is theirs.

Having seen a lot of movies during the year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to say that some of those films are subpar and shouldn’t be made.  A Bad Idea Gone Wrong isn’t one of those films.  It’s not a laugh riot either but it’s the type of comedy that needs to be made more often.  As far as the smaller indie comedies go, it’s right there with Dave Made A Maze, Bear with Us, and Future ’38.  It’s no surprise though that this little comedy took home the Grand Jury Prize for an Narrative Feature ensemble casts at SXSW.  What is surprising, however, is that this film won’t be getting much of a theatrical release and that’s a shame.  With the VOD platforms, the heist comedy ought to be able to find an audience, even if it’s just through word of mouth.

A Bad Idea Gone Wrong does what many studio comedies failed to do this year by delivering a solid comedy with heart.

Freestyle Digital Media opens A Bad Idea Gone Wrong in 10 markets theatrically (Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix and more) starting November 30, 2017.  On December 1, 2017, the film hits VOD platforms.


Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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