The entire, very talented cast of the caper comedy "Welcome to Collinwood" is clearly having a good time playing criminal washouts who know more about their own local-crook jargon than they do about breaking and entering. But you get the feeling watching it that having a good time took precedence over making anything more than an insubstantial romp designed to entertain themselves.
Amusing but otherwise forgettable, the flick stars Luis Guzman (also in this week's "Punch-Drunk Love") as an imprisoned petty thief who hears about a supposed dream heist opportunity from a lifer he's serving time with and says to himself, "This could be my Belini!" But he needs a Melinski to take the fall and someone who can pull a Krasner at the Shylock's office they'll break into, so the job doesn't turn into a real kaputchnick.
But in the process of trying to line up a patsy, his girlfriend on the outside (Patricia Clarkson) ends up with half a dozen hapless partners instead -- including a hopelessly amateur boxer (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed photographer (William H. Macy) who carts his infant son everywhere he goes because his can't afford his wife's bail, a frail old thief (Michael Jeter) who can't complete a sentence without pausing for breath, a dubiously "expert" safe-cracker in a wheelchair (George Clooney) who is a little cracked himself, and a couple more small-time hustlers (Isaiah Washington and Andrew Davoli).With stars such as these employing the cheeky comic instincts they've honed, often together, in flicks by David Mamet and/or Steven Soderbergh (who produced this picture with Clooney), the frivolity is contagious, even if the plot and the gags are, more often than not, obvious, broad and overused.
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