Film Capsule: A Bag of Hammers

A Bag of Hammers is the only movie I’ve ever seen that sets out to empathize with the burden of being gay, poor, and/or left out in America, yet ultimately ends up condescending to all three. This is all incidental, of course.  But it’s also indicative of a much larger problem. That problem (in a nutshell): Semi-rich white people who want very desperately for you to believe they understand what it’s like to be poor and underprivileged.

The two main characters (one of which is played by John Ritter’s son, Jason) pose as graveyard valets in order to steal lavish cars from the rich during funeral ceremonies. I mean, sure, it sounds funny. But the writers are so completely inept in terms of understanding how the criminal underworld actually works that the entire premise winds up falling flat on its face.

Somewhere in between, that hot chick from Everything Must Go shows up, along with that soft-spoken, bald dude who played the nanny in Jerry Maguire. Meanwhile, Jason Ritter looks and sounds so much like his late father, you cannot help but think of his character as a very young Jack Tripper.

The bottom line: There’s very little about A Bag of Hammers that you cannot glean from watching the two-and-a-half minute trailer above. There’s a reason for that, actually. And that reason is that the other 82+ minutes of the film feel like little more than slapdash filler material … a bag of hammers, indeed, if ever there was one.

(A Bag of Hammers opens this week in New York and L.A., with a national rollout to follow)