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Review: Oscar winner Sam Rockwell’s follow-up is the flat caper comedy ‘Blue Iguana’

(L-R) - Ben Schwartz and Sam Rockwell in a scene from “Blue Iguana.” Credit: Screen Media Films
Ben Schwartz, left, and Sam Rockwell in the movie “Blue Iguana.”
(Screen Media Films)

Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz play a pair of American ex-cons sent on a mission to London to intercept the delivery of a mysterious backpack in “Blue Iguana,” a talky comedy caper that manages to travel from quirky to irritating in no time flat.

Resigned to working at a New York greasy spoon at least until their parole is up, Eddie (Rockwell) and Paul (Schwartz) are made an offer they can’t refuse by Katherine, a sulking British lawyer (Phoebe Fox) who enlists them to make a quick trip across the pond and snatch the designated package.

Unsurprisingly, things go terribly wrong and they find themselves locking horns with a sadistic crime boss named Arkady (Peter Polycarpou) and his psychotic, trigger-happy henchman (Peter Ferdinando).

Suffice it to say, the contents of that sought-after rucksack didn’t include a better script.

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Writer-director Hadi Hajaig was obviously shooting for a mid-1980s indie vibe along the lines of Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild,” but aside from an overstuffed soundtrack that goes heavy on the B-52’s, there’s nothing particularly engaging or nostalgic going on beneath all the forced irreverence.

Instead of taking richer advantage of the inherent fish-out-of-water setup, Hajaig is content to indulge his leads’ apparent preference for extensively — and, for the most part, ill-advised — improvised dialogue while he’s otherwise preoccupied cueing up the likes of “Pop Muzik” by M on his totally ’80s iPod.

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‘Blue Iguana’

Not rated

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Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica


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