Jason Headley writes and directs his first full-length feature film, “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” starring Matt Jones (“Mom”-TV Series) and Will Rogers (“Bridge of Spies”) as two hapless thieves who stumble upon the wrong house to rob. Eleanore Pienta rounds out the small yet powerful ensemble cast to give us a tale of tables turning and an unlikely love story all while making you laugh out loud.
Marlon (Jones) and Leo (Rogers) are hapless losers wanting to make a quick buck without having to really work for it. Scheming for weeks, they find just the right heist— a home robbery of a wealthy family on vacation. Leo appears to be the “brains” of the operation and the two devise a plan that spirals out of control from the very beginning. Once inside the home, the two arm the alarm (yes, you read that right) and they are now stuck inside the home. But that is just one of the problems they encounter. Darcy (Pienta) is the other problem. Staying in the house while the family is away, Darcy is now taken hostage. When each of the three reveal their true motives behind what brought them to this house, the story becomes wonderfully rich and entertaining.
Marlon and Leo are best buddies; it’s quite evident with their natural rapport and their wonderful conversations that make us privy to their past as well as their aspirations. Marlon is consumed by a radio show contest and Leo is heartbroken. The two are simply pathetic little puppy dogs that you want to take home and help, even if they are up to no good. Darcy, on the other hand, is strong, smart, and independent, but she’s not as hardened as she lets on. The antics that occur among the three of them are ridiculously fun, particularly as Leo and Marlon “brainstorm” ideas to get them out of the mess they’ve made.
The energy and pace of this film is fast and fun, never a dull moment. The actions and reactions are unexpected, creating an equally unexpected connection to these quirky characters. Rogers and Jones compliment one another like Mutt and Jeff as we route for them to somehow succeed in escaping their situation. Jones seems to truly embrace his character who has no verbal edit mode and Rogers brings a sweet demeanor to “Leo.” It’s Pienta that seems to be the glue that pulls them all together to give us a well-balanced ensemble that is a true joy to watch.
Headley creates a fast-paced and hilarious story that will capture your heart as he finds a way to make you connect with the “bad guys.” It’s a classic story of one bad decision leading to many more, but each situation is full of comedic joy. Headley has a long and successful career ahead of him if “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” is an example of his deft direction and creative writing skills.
“A Bad Idea Gone Wrong” is a fun romp in the life of three misfits who find a common goal while they figure out life. It’s a fast-paced, energetic film that will engage and entertain you as you laugh out loud. And thanks to this film, I will never see the time 11:11 the same way again! Everything has gone right in creating this comedic gem.
(Check back for the interview with Headley, Jones, and Pienta at the SXSW Film Festival!)
3 1/2 out of 4 stars