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Film review: Disorganized Crime

"Disorganized Crime" is one of those movies with a funny concept, one or two big laughs and lots of dry spots.

This becomes apparent at the outset as the camera focuses on a trio of crooks (Fred Gwynne, Ruben Blades, William Russ) who don't know each other but who all get off the train in a small Montana town at the same time.

First off, it seems odd they'd all travel by train. Secondly, their mugging isn't all that funny without some foundation.

The story has them being summoned by Corbin Bernsen, a New Jersey bank robber who wants to knock off this small town's bank. Why he's in Montana is never explained, except that he's on the lam. The three crooks are ex-cons, all experts in various aspects of the game, joined by a fourth (Lou Diamond Phillips) who picks them up and drives them to Bernsen's dilapidated dwelling high in the hills.

What none of them know is that Bernsen has been arrested by two bumbling New Jersey cops (Ed O'Neill, Dan Roebuck). It isn't long before Bernsen escapes, however, and tries to make his way back to his house — getting lost in the woods along the way.

Meanwhile, Bernsen's four friends, all squabbling among themselves, figure out from evidence in the house what the job is and plan the bank robbery by themselves, hoping to run into Bernsen along the way.

Meanwhile, Part II, the Jersey cops stumble along trying to track down Bernsen, ultimately enlisting the aid of the local sheriff (Hoyt Axton), but completely unaware of the other four crooks or the impending bank robbery.

There are some amusing moments here and there, and some of the actors — particularly Blades, O'Neill and Russ — try hard to invest humor into their characterizations, and Gwynne gives the script more dignity than it deserves, but there are an awful lot of deadly dull draggy scenes, and Bernsen is way over the top in his role as city mouse in the country.

This is the kind of movie that thinks it's funnier than it is but just keeps on going anyway. Oddly enough, it might better appeal more to a younger audience that isn't as discerning as older audiences are likely to be — but the R rating will probably keep most of that audience away.

"Disorganized Crime" is rated R because the "Eddie Murphy Word" is used a few times. The rest of the profanity and the film's violence are easily in the PG arena.