Jordana Brewster

'American Heist' a tepid potboiler despite star power

'American Heist' a tepid potboiler despite star power

Despite a few strong emotional beats, the crime drama "American Heist" proves as undistinguished as its generic title. This derivative story of hard-luck brothers drawn into an ill-fated robbery is notable for raising one pervasive question: What are Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and the underrated Hayden Christensen doing in such a disposable potboiler?

Brody, all sad eyes and manic swagger, plays Frankie, an ex-con back on the streets of New Orleans who shows up at his mechanic brother Jimmy's (Christensen) doorstep with a dubious get-rich-quick scheme. Military vet Jimmy, wary of his screw-up sibling's blind optimism, resists involvement. But when Frankie's insistent...