Best Laid Plans - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Best Laid Plans Reviews

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½ October 23, 2016
Surprisingly enjoyable. Somewhere between a 3.75-4.25.
½ November 3, 2015
Well framed in its Neo-Noir style and ending with some surprising sincerity, Best Laid Plans isn't perfect but it's a film that gets by on its performances, twists, and sheer perseverance.
½ August 29, 2015
Interesting if unspectacular little thriller about Alessandro Nivola and girlfriend Reese Witherspoon running a con on Josh Brolin in order to pay off loanshark Terrance Howard. The con is that Witherspoon poses as an underage girl to convince Brolin he's committed statutory rape in order to extort money from him. The film opens with the con and Brolin then tying up Witherspoon in his home and calling his friend Nivola for help, unknowing that Nivola and Witherspoon are in cahoots. It's a noirish story that had potential, but the middle of the film is painfully dull and slow, which flashes back to Nivola and Witherspoon's money woes and them hatching their scheme. Once the second act catches up to the opening, it comes back to life, but the the denouement rather fizzles instead of building to a wild climax, which it could easily have done. I'd love to have seen an climax like "8 Million Ways to Die" or "True Romance" which could have rescued this film. Still, the three leads are all strong actors and compelling screen presences, particularly Witherspoon, and they do manage to make the film watchable. Don't go out of your way to watch this film, but it's not horrible and is somewhat interesting to see Witherspoon and Brolin before they broke out as major stars.
June 19, 2015
Decently acted however the story is simply too easy to figure out, ruining any mystery before it gets a chance to build. There are some points that aren't "smack you in the face" but overall this is only a mediocre suspense movie.
½ September 17, 2014
Pretentious and predictable.
½ November 23, 2013
Where Was It All Going? Up To You, The Viewer To Piece It All Together & Given The Bland Feel Of It All I Just Gave Up.
May 31, 2013
This is just 1 headf**k of a film...If you have not seen it , then I urge you to do so , for every action , theres a reaction!!!!
½ December 26, 2012
Interesting little thriller with one unexpected twist and good performances. I enjoyed it.
November 19, 2012
there are a good amount of twist and turns which holds the film above water.
½ November 15, 2012
One of the worst movies of '99.
½ September 30, 2012
well made but blah movie.
June 22, 2012
Welcome to Tropico, a grey little town smack dab in the middle of nowhere where nothing ever happens until a botched robbery leaves Nick (Alessandro Nivola) 48 hours to pay up or die. Desperate Nick and his girlfriend Lissa (Reese Witherspoon) undertake drastic measures to get their hands on some fast cash.Enter Nicks old college chum Bryce (Josh Brolin), a seemingly easy mark who holds the ticket to the couples salvation. But before long, all three young people will find themselves entwined in a dangerous web of betrayal and seduction.

also stars Kate Hendrickson, Rocky Carroll, Owen Bush, Rebecca Jane Klinger, Michael G. Hagerty and Father Terrance Sweeney.

directed by Mike Barker.
½ May 19, 2012
underrated film with good performances and some decent twists even if some can be anticipated
½ March 23, 2012
This really felt like a straight to video release. I automatically hate movies that glorify animal abuse, such as when a cat is run over, which had nothing to do with anything. Just felt that any movie that needs to add cheap thrills is brutal
½ March 16, 2012
one of the better movies of my youth
½ March 4, 2012
Best Laid Plans opens with banter between two characters. The first is Bryce (Josh Brolin), who's telling a joke to Nick (Alessandro Nivola). They're at a bar, catching up after a long time apart. In walks a woman, Lissa (Reese Witherspoon). We fade to black, and a montage informs us that Lissa and Bryce ended up having sex. The next thing we see is Nick picking up the phone, with Bryce on the other end asking if Nick can come over. It's an emergency.

There isn't much urgency to Bryce once Nick shows up, which seemed weird to me. Drinks are even offered. Anyway, it becomes clear that Bryce isn't okay, as he's in a panic and he's shaking. The news is spilled: Lissa is accusing him of raping her. Through digging through her purse, it's discovered that she's a minor, despite carrying one ID that says she's 21, meaning that Bryce, a college professor, could be charged with statutory rape. He says that will mean at least ten years in prison.

There's not much he can do, Nick tells him. That's where Bryce's friend is wrong; there is something that the pair can do. See, instead of letting Lissa go to the police, Bryce put her in handcuffs and threw her in the basement. She's down there now, and when we go see her, Nick shows compassion. He wants to play the good cop, after all. After some deliberation, it's determined that Nick will threaten her in hopes that she'll decide not to tell on Bryce for breaking the law, and in exchange, she'll be released.

I don't want to spoil any more of the plot than that, but I will say one thing: After this decision, and after a key reveal, we flash backward to four months prior to this night. We learn about what led up to this point: Why certain characters act the way they do; how Bryce, someone without a lot of money, is living in this dream house; why Nick's life might be on the line, in spite of his calm demeanor; the reason behind Lissa's lawsuit threat, and so on.

It all hinges on a plot twist, which I will not reveal. About 50 minutes of Best Laid Plans is dedicated to this flashback, only allowing 40, or maybe even less, for the current story. This is a lot of build-up, and it's a bit too much for my liking. For instance, after we see footage of the previous three months, we don't need to see the meeting in the bar on this day, especially as we've already seen part of it. There isn't anything revealing here that we haven't already picked up on.

This doesn't make the film feel too long, but it does make it smell of padding, which is always a bad thing. There are a few moments throughout when there should have been tighter editing. It's a 92 minute film, although it would have been better at 90. Yes, I do believe that those two minutes make a big enough difference to note. A film like this requires your constant attention to be successful, and when you're wondering why it's showing you something, you won't be thinking about the plot.

Best Laid Plans is a thriller that keeps you engaged both during the set-up and after. You enjoy the flashback, which involves a drug deal gone bad, and you also enjoy the aftermath, which involves murder, the same drug dealers, a timer, and Abraham Lincoln. It's very satisfying for the most part, and you'll likely stay engaged for the majority of the film's running time.

Eventually, it tried too hard, I think. There always has to be one more twist, which leads to the film having too many. It tries for a lot of sleight of hand, a lot of character turns and revelations -- the final one was too silly to be believed. Sure, it makes sense in some respects, but it takes away from the film and makes a rewatch difficult. It's also done for no reason, included seemingly because the filmmakers weren't sure how to end their film.

What's shocking about this movie is how much it gets you to care about characters that are ... less than endearing, to put it nicely. Apart from Bryce, both Nick and Lissa garner sympathy throughout. Bryce is just unlikable, and with the basic premise that I've shared, you can believe that he would have raped Lissa. She's no shining star herself (passing herself off as a minor), and after other character reveals, you learn how nefarious she and Nick actually are, but because their reasons for acting this way are pure, we don't mind their deeds. These characters are three dimensional, well-acted, enjoyable to spend time with.

Best Laid Plans is a very good movie that's thrilling throughout, save for approximately two minutes when it begins to drag. That's nitpicking, to be sure, but it's those two minutes away from being a great film. As it is, it's very engaging, contains characters that you will care about even in spit of their flaws, and while the plot might try to be a little bit too clever at times, the choices made don't hinder our enjoyment. This is an enjoyable thriller that you'll likely have a good time with. I know I did.
February 29, 2012
British criminal drama, not at its best, but at its most thoughtful. In a Hollywood sort of way.
½ February 7, 2012
A simple yet good story, showing the desperation and deception of people, but also the level which people will go for the people they love. Reese Witherspoon is fabulous as usual in once again an underrated performance.
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